Discovery Ready for Landing

The STS-128 crew
Discovery’s heat shield was cleared for landing Wednesday, and the crew checked out the systems that will be used to control the space shuttle’s return to Earth.

The first landing opportunity is planned for 7:05 p.m. EDT Thursday, but Mission Control is keeping a close watch on weather conditions at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A second opportunity is available on the following orbit at 8:42 p.m.

Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Kevin Ford spent Wednesday preparing the shuttle for re-entry, completing a checkout of the flight control systems and test-firing the shuttle’s reaction control system thrusters.