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STS-118: Highlights

The STS-118 crew, including Barbara Morgan, narrates its mission highlights film and answers questions in this post-flight presentation.

 Full presentation
 Mission film

STS-120: Rollout to pad

Space shuttle Discovery rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building and travels to launch pad 39A for its STS-120 mission.


ISS crew change preview

The Expedition 15 mission draws to a close aboard the space station and the Expedition 16 launch nears. These two briefings from Sept. 25 cover the upcoming transition between the two missions.

 Exp. 15 recap
 Exp. 16 preview

Discovery moves to VAB

Shuttle Discovery is transported from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building for attachment to the external tank and boosters.


STS-120: The programs

In advance of shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission to the station, managers from both programs discuss the flight.


STS-120: The mission

Discovery's trip to the station will install the Harmony module and move the P6 solar wing truss. The flight directors present a detailed overview of STS-120.

 Part 1 | Part 2

STS-120: Spacewalks

Five spacewalks are planned during Discovery's STS-120 assembly mission to the station. Lead spacewalk officer Dina Contella previews the EVAs.

 Full briefing
 EVA 1 summary
 EVA 2 summary
 EVA 3 summary
 EVA 4 summary
 EVA 5 summary

The Discovery crew

The Discovery astronauts, led by commander Pam Melroy, meet the press in the traditional pre-flight news conference.


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Soyuz capsule makes 'ballistic' descent to Earth
Posted: October 21, 2007

The Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft landed in Kazakhstan today, bringing outgoing space station commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, flight engineer Oleg Kotov and Malaysia's first man in space, Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, safely back to Earth after a steeper-than-usual descent that left the ship well short of its intended landing site.

The spacecraft undocked from the aft port of the Russian Zvezda command module around 3:14 a.m. EDT. Yurchikhin fired the capsule's braking rockets for four minutes beginning at 5:47 a.m. to begin the hourlong descent. At 6:14 a.m., the craft reached the discernible atmosphere at an altitude of 400,000 feet.

Plunging back to Earth from west to east over central Kazakhstan, the flight plan called for a landing near the town of Arkalyk. But for reasons yet to be explained, the Soyuz flew a steeper-than-planned trajectory and landed short of the intended touchdown point, subjecting the crew to higher-than-normal braking forces. It was the first "ballistic" re-entry since the Soyuz TMA-1 spacecraft returned on May 3, 2003, with the space station's sixth full time crew.

Landing some 211 miles west of Arkalyk, there was no live television coverage of the landing. But NASA commentator Rob Navias, monitoring the re-entry from the Johnson Space Center's mission control in Houston, said Russian recovery forces aboard search aircraft spotted the capsule as it descended under its main parachutes at an altitude of about 5,000 feet. Russian flight controllers said recovery crews contacted the cosmonauts during the final moments of the descent and were told the crew was in good shape.

Touchdown occurred a few minutes later, around 6:36 a.m., one minute earlier than planned.

"It's on the ground and five minutes ago a helicopter landed right next to it," a Russian flight controller radioed the space station crew in orbit. "The guys are being extracted from the descent module and they're feeling fine."

Yurchikhin, Kotov and U.S. space tourist Charles Simonyi were launched to the international space station last April. Yurchikhin and Kotov were replaced by Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson, the first woman to command the lab complex, and flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko. Whitson, Malenchenko and Shukor were launched Oct. 10 aboard the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft.

"The crew is safe on the ground," Navias reported. "It landed almost in an upright position, slightly canted, we are told, one helicopter on the ground, others soon to arrive to continue the process of beginning to safe the vehilcle and extract the crew."

By 6:55 a.m., all three crew members were reported out of the capsule.