Mission Discovery: Launching C.O.L.B.E.R.T. Into Space

Shuttle Discovery Begins Ferry Flight to Florida
Space shuttle Discovery and its modified 747 carrier aircraft lift off from Edwards Air Force Base early in the morning of Sept. 20, 2009 on the first leg of its ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (Image credit: NASA/Tony Landis)

Thespace shuttle Discovery launched into space one minute before midnight on Aug.28, 2009 on a 13-day mission to deliver new supplies and equipment to theInternational Space Station, including an exercise treadmill named after TVcomedian Stephen Colbert.


Commandedby veteran spaceflyer Rick Sturckow, Discovery?s seven-astronaut crew hauledthe new COLBERT treadmill and a shipment of new science gear to the station.They also performed three spacewalks to upgrade the space station?s exteriorand perform much-needed maintenance.


Belowis SPACE.com?s special report on Discovery?s STS-128 mission. Stories appear inreverse chronological order, with the most recent updates first. This was lastupdated on Sept. 9, 2009.


Shuttle?sSummer Success


SpaceShuttle Discovery Returns to Florida Home
Thespace shuttle Discovery returned to its home port in Florida Monday to end atwo-day trek across the country.


ShuttleDiscovery Begins Ferry Flight to Florida
Thespace shuttle Discovery began a cross-country ferry flight to its home port inFlorida Sunday more than a week after returning to Earth from its latestmission to orbit.


SpaceShuttle Discovery Lands Safely in California
HOUSTON- Space shuttle Discovery returned safely to Earth Friday evening, landing inCalifornia after being diverted due to rain showers over Florida.


MysteryExplained: Glow in Night Sky Was Astronaut Urine
Thebeautiful trail in the sky looked like a mysterious celestial event. Inreality, it was urine.

SpaceBurrito Recipe Revealed by Astronauts
Aburrito for breakfast is always a tasty treat, even for astronauts in space.


SpaceShuttle Discovery Headed For California Landing
NASAhas ordered astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery to switch to a backuprunway in California for their planned landing Friday due to persistent stormsin Florida that made a return to their home port impossible.

ShuttleAstronauts Hope for Friday Landing After Delay
Theseven astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery are hoping for a break inFlorida's stormy weather so they can land Friday evening, but they may end upin California if conditions stay grim.


StormyWeather Delays Space Shuttle Landing

Astronautsaboard NASA's space shuttle Discovery have to wait at least one more day beforereturning to Earth after thunderstorms and strong winds thwarted attempts toland Thursday.

SpaceJunk Forces Shuttle Discovery to Dodge on Way Home
Thespace shuttle Discovery dodged a mysterious piece of orbital trash Thursday asits astronaut crew prepared for a planned landing in Florida.


WeatherIffy for Space Shuttle Landing Thursday
It'slanding day for space shuttle Discovery, but thunderstorms in Florida may keepthe spacecraft and its astronaut crew in orbit an extra day.


Buzz Lightyear Sets Duration Record Aboard Space Station
Space shuttleDiscovery undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday with sixNASA astronauts, one European Space Agency (ESA) mission specialist and a StarCommand Space Ranger for the trip back to Earth.


ShuttleDiscovery Undocks From Space Station
Spaceshuttle Discovery cast off from the International Space Station Tuesday andbegan the trip back to Earth, wrapping up nearly nine days of joint work by 13astronauts aboard both spacecraft.

NASATracks Chinese Satellite Debris Headed Near Space Station
NASAis tracking a piece of leftover space junk from a 2007 Chinese anti-satellitetest that is expected to fly near the International Space Station twice onWednesday, a day after the shuttle Discovery leaves the orbiting lab.


SwedishAstronaut Shares Space Shuttle Sweets
Beforeboarding a space shuttle to leave the International Space Station, Swedishastronaut Christer Fuglesang shared how "sweet" a spacecraft theorbiter could be.

ShuttleAstronauts in Homestretch of Space Mission
Spaceshuttle Discovery astronauts entered the homestretch of their busy flight tothe International Space Station Sunday and are packing up for their trip homelater this week.


AstronautsOutfit Space Station in Mission's Last Spacewalk
Twospacewalking astronauts primed the International Space Station Saturday forfuture shuttle visits Saturday despite dealing with a wayward spacesuit camerathat almost came loose late in their work.


AstronautsGear Up for Mission's Last Spacewalk
Twoastronauts will float outside the International Space Station Saturday on thelast spacewalk of their mission, one aimed at performing some last fewmaintenance chores on the orbiting laboratory.


SpaceSights and Smells Surprise Rookie Astronauts
WASHINGTON- For rookie astronauts flying aboard the International Space Station, the foodis good, the rocket thrusters are loud and there's an odd tang in the air -apparently from outer space.


GearingUp Space Station


AstronautsTake a Break From Busy Space Mission

Astronautstook a hard-earned break from work aboard the International Space StationFriday as they hit the midpoint of a busy mission to boost the outpost'sscience gear and supplies.


OrbitalTrash Buzzes Space Station, Shuttle
Thederelict remains of an old European rocket zipped close by the InternationalSpace Station and shuttle Discovery Friday, but not close enough to pose a riskto the spacecraft or their astronaut crews.


SpacewalkersInstall Massive Cooling Tank on Space Station
Twospacewalking astronauts tackled a tough coolant tank swap at the InternationalSpace Station late Thursday, one that required them to move hefty components asmassive as small cars.


Spacewalkto Go Ahead as Space Junk Threat Fades
Twoastronauts will float outside the International Space Station for a spacewalkThursday evening secure in the knowledge that their spacecraft won't have tododge a massive piece of space junk.


Trashin Space May Force Shuttle, Station to Dodge
NASAis tracking a large chunk of rocket trash hurtling through space just in caseit might require the linked shuttle Discovery and International Space Stationto move out of the way late Thursday.


AstronautsComplain of Stuffy Heads in Space
Astronautsaboard the space shuttle Discovery have got a case of stuffy heads, but NASAdoesn't think they're sick


SpacewalkersRemove Massive Tank From Space Station
Twospacewalkers carefully removed a massive tank from its mooring outside theInternational Space Station late Tuesday as their crewmates unpacked atreadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert.


AstronautsPrepare for Mission's First Spacewalk
Twoastronauts will venture outside the International Space Station Tuesday to kickoff their mission's first spacewalk while their crewmates inside beginunpacking the tons of cargo delivered by the shuttle Discovery.


ShuttleAstronauts Move In at Space Station
Itwas moving day at the International Space Station Monday as astronautsinstalled a cargo module packed full of fresh supplies, science gear and atreadmill named after comedian Stephen Colbert.

MouseHotel Opens on Space Station
Ateam of six intrepid mice is going where no rodents have gone before: TheInternational Space Station.


ShuttleDiscovery Marks Silver Anniversary With Space Station Docking

Asspace shuttle Discovery neared the International Space Station (ISS) on Sundayevening, its crew first caught sight of the sun's glare bouncing off eightpairs of solar arrays. The reflection spanned both space and time,as it hearkened back to Discovery's maiden launch 25 years ago on a six-daymission then to test fly a large, lightweight solar wing.


ShuttleDiscovery Arrives at Space Station
Aftera two-day orbital chase, space shuttle Discovery linked up with theInternational Space Station late Sunday to deliver a new crewmember and a cargopod full of vital supplies.


ShuttleDiscovery Closes In On Space Station
Spaceshuttle Discovery is closing in on the International Space Station for a lateSunday rendezvous in orbit around Earth.


AstronautsInspect Space Shuttle for Damage

Astronautsaboard the space shuttle Discovery inspected their spacecraft's vital heatshield for damage today as they chase down the International Space Station fora Sunday rendezvous.


SpaceShuttle's Midnight Launch Dazzles in Photos
Thebrilliant midnight launch of NASA's space shuttle Discovery late Friday broughta false dawn above Florida that was captured in spectacular images byphotographers on Earth.


ShuttleDiscovery Blasts Off Toward Space Station
Thespace shuttle Discovery turned night into day above Florida late Friday as itblazed into the midnight sky carrying seven astronauts bound for theInternational Space Station.


LaunchDelays and Glitches


NASAAims to Launch Shuttle Discovery Late Friday
NASAfueled the space shuttle Discovery for a late Friday launch after twoconsecutive delays caused by stormy weather and a hydrogen fuel valve glitch.


NASATargets Late Friday Launch for Space Shuttle
NASAhas decided to skip its next chance to launch the space shuttle Discovery andis now targeting a late Friday liftoff.


NASAResumes Countdown for Possible Friday Shuttle Launch
Theclock is again ticking down toward launch for NASA's space shuttle Discovery asmission managers prepare to discuss whether the spacecraft is indeed ready forits planned Friday blast off.


NASATargets Friday Launch for Shuttle Discovery
CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. ? NASA is now targeting no earlier than Friday to try to loftthe space shuttle Discovery after a critical valve failed a standard checkduring its second launch attempt earlier today.


BrokenValve Prompts Second Launch Delay for Shuttle Discovery
CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - A broken valve on the space shuttle Discovery forced NASA tocall off the spacecraft's second launch attempt in a row late Tuesday asengineers troubleshoot the glitch


StormsForce NASA to Aim for Wednesday Shuttle Launch
CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA will take another shot at launching the space shuttleDiscovery on Wednesday after unexpected thunderstorms foiled an attemptedliftoff earlier today.


StormyWeather Thwarts Space Shuttle Launch
CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - Lightning and thunderstorms thwarted NASA's attempt to launchthe space shuttle Discovery early Tuesday, forcing its seven-astronaut crew towait at least one more day before leaving the planet.


ShuttleDiscovery Go for Launch


StephenColbert 'Go' for Space Shuttle Launch

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - Comedian Stephen Colbert is go for the space shuttleDiscovery's Tuesday launch, even if he can't watch the spacecraft send atreadmill named after him into orbit with his own two eyes.


Salesof Sold Out COLBERT Patches Soar as Crew Patch Error Becomes Collectible
Twoembroidered patches designed for space shuttle Discovery's mission to theInternational Space Station beginning this week have gone from being simplesouvenirs sold at NASA-themed gift shops to rare collector items selling for asmuch as 35 times their retail price.


SpaceShuttle Discovery to Launch Early Tuesday

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - The space shuttle Discovery is poised to blast off earlyTuesday in what promises to be a stunning nighttime launch into the darkFlorida sky.


NextShuttle Mission to Boost Space Station Science
CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - When the space shuttle Discovery rockets into orbit thisweek, it will carry a treasure trove of new science gear to boost researchaboard the International Space Station.


NASAClears Shuttle Discovery for Tuesday Launch
CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA officials today cleared the space shuttle Discovery toblast off Tuesday as the weather outlook improved for the planned predawnlaunch.


StephenColbert's Space Treadmill Ready for Blast Off
NASAis poised to launch a new treadmill named for comedian Stephen Colbert to theInternational Space Station on the shuttle Discovery on Tuesday and at leastone astronaut has taken it for a test spin. But what's it like, running inspace?


FromFieldhand to Spaceman: An Astronaut's Journey
AstronautJose Hernandez has come a long way, and now he's aboutto go even farther.


SpaceShuttle Discovery on Track for Tuesday Launch
NASA'sspace shuttle Discovery is on track for a planned Tuesday launch toward theInternational Space Station, mission managers said Saturday.

EclecticAstronaut Mix to Launch on Shuttle Discovery
Aformer off-road racer, a Swedish physicist and three tweeting astronauts formjust part of the eclectic crew poised to blast off Tuesday aboard NASA's spaceshuttle Discovery.


WeatherLooks Good for Tuesday Shuttle Launch
Theweather looks promising for NASA's planned predawn Tuesday launch of the spaceshuttle Discovery and seven astronauts bound for the International SpaceStation.


FuelTank Concerns


SpaceShuttle Discovery to Launch Aug. 25
NASAwill try to launch the space shuttle Discovery next week after settlingoutlying concerns with the foam insulation covering the spacecraft's externalfuel tank.


NASAClears Fuel Tank Concerns for Shuttle Launch
TopNASA officials have cleared the space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank ofany concerns related to its foam insulation, setting the stage for a Wednesdaymeeting expected set an official launch date of Aug. 25.


NASAOrders Extra Fuel Tank Tests for Shuttle Launch
WASHINGTON- NASA has ordered some last-minute tests on the space shuttle Discovery'sgiant fuel tank to see if the spacecraft is safe to blast off later this month.


ShuttleDiscovery's Fuel Tank May Need Foam Fix
Anexternal tank foam-shedding problem could prompt NASA to roll shuttle Discoveryback to Kennedy Space Center's assembly building for repairs, but the agencystill is pressing ahead with preparations for the targeted Aug. 25 launch.


ShuttleAstronauts Practice Launch Pad Escape
Sevenastronauts climbed aboard NASA's space shuttle Discovery Friday for a vitaldrill to practice escaping from the spacecraft at the launch pad and go overplans for their late August blast off.

LightningSlows Space Shuttle's Launch Pad Trek
Thespace shuttle Discovery rolled out to its Florida launch pad Tuesday in anarduous, slow trek made even slower by brilliant lightning flashes and soggymud.



CollectibleCOLBERT Space Patch Sells Out
Nearlya month before the payload it celebrates is scheduled to launch to space, acollectible embroidered patch has sold out, with no plans for it to be producedagain.


SpaceShuttle Discovery Moves Closer to August Launch
CAPECANAVERAL - The orbiter Discovery is in the Kennedy Space Center VehicleAssembly Building today after a move Sunday from its nearby processing hangar.


COLBERT?sSpace Legacy

NASANames Space Module After Moon Base, Not Stephen Colbert
Displayingboth a sense of history and humor, NASA on Tuesday revealed"Tranquility" as the name of its newest space station module, whilechristening a new astronaut exercise device after comedian Stephen Colbert,whose name led their public opinion poll for what to name the orbitingoutpost's new room.


NASAto Reveal Space Module's Name on 'Colbert Report'

NASAwill announce on Tuesday the name it has chosen for a new space station modulewith help from comedian Stephen Colbert, who has campaigned for weeks to haveit named for him.


AstronautsWould Live in Space Module 'Colbert'

Astronautsaboard the International Space Station say they would welcome the arrival ofthe outpost's new orbital room, even if it is named after comedian StephenColbert.


StephenColbert Challenges NASA Over Node Name
ComedianStephen Colbert is pulling out all the stops in his campaign to have NASA namea new room of the International Space Station after him.


NASAMight Name Toilet For Comedian Stephen Colbert
NASAmay consider putting Stephen Colbert's name on a space toilet, after thecomedian came out on top of the U.S. space agency's online naming poll for anew space module.


NASAWon't Commit to 'Stephen Colbert' Space Module Yet
ComedyCentral's Stephen Colbert has been talking up the International Space Stationrecently, but NASA is iffy on naming a new module at the outpost after thecomedian even if he wins the U.S. space agency's online naming contest.


Cana Comedian Take Over the Space Station?
NASA'snaming contest for a new space station module now faces a fresh challenger inthe form of comedian Stephen Colbert.


StationAstronaut Laughs it up for 'Colbert Report'
NASAastronaut Garrett Reisman squeezed in some laughs amid his busy day aboard theInternational Space Station (ISS) Thursday during an orbital call from comedianStephen Colbert.


  • Complete Shuttle Mission Coverage
  • Complete International Space Station Expedition Coverage
  • Fixing NASA: Complete Coverage of Space Shuttle Return to Flight
    SPACE.com's complete coverage of NASA's STS-114 Return to Flight mission.
  • Special Report: STS-107 Columbia Disaster
    SPACE.com's complete coverage of NASA's 2003 Columbia accident.
  • All About the Space Shuttle
  • All About the International Space Station


Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.

Space.com Staff
News and editorial team

Space.com is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, Space.com is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.