Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Discovery's Crew Practices Countdown
The STS-128 astronauts flew to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on August 5 for their scheduled countdown rehearsal. The seven-member crew spent three days in exercises officially known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or T – C – D – T. The astronauts practiced emergency evacuation at the launch pad and checked the mission payload in space shuttle Discovery's cargo bay. They received instruction on driving the M-113 armored personnel carrier as part of their emergency escape training. The crew took a few minutes out of their schedule to answer questions from media representatives who gathered for a news conference at the launch pad. At the Shuttle Landing Facility, Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford practiced landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft. The final day's activities culminated in a launch dress rehearsal and practice countdown with the look and feel of a real launch day. With the exercises behind them, the astronauts flew back to their home base at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Discovery and crew are targeted to lift off in late August for their 13-day mission to the International Space Station.