View Discovery’s Descent: Take 2!
Some of you might have rolled out of bed this morning, exposed to the elements, to witness quite possibly the last fly over of a space shuttle over North America. 5:24 a.m. rolled around and what did you see? Nothing. NASA scrapped the descent due to poor weather conditions at Kennedy Space Center.
They’re going to make another attempt Tuesday morning using Orbit 237 (attempt #1) to land the beastie of a shuttle, Discovery.
For those in North America, you may have an opportunity to view the shuttle as it makes its descent. The importance of this descent is that it may be the last time you ever have the opportunity to see an American space shuttle (of these models) fly over your very own backyard. Let me walk you through the process of knowing where and how to view the shutttle descent.
Using NASA’S SkyWatch, follow these instructions:
1. Click on INPUT
2. Select Satellite: KSC237 (Entry)
3. U.S. States: Washington (or your state of choice)
4. Click on SPOKANE (or your city of choice)
5. Click on NEXT SIGHTING
6. Next, a table appears showing you times. Here’s what the information means:
Satellite Rise: 4:09 a.m. (from the north)
Satellite Set: 4:13 a.m. (to the south east)
Closest Approach: 4:11 a.m.
7. Click on SKYTRACK to view the flight path including constellations, planets and stars.
Flight path looking up
Flight path looking down
Here’s the deal though. SkyWatch says, “A sighting is possible on this pass.” It’s not certain. The projected flight path shows the shuttle crossing from Canada into North Idaho, so it may not even be possible to see it from Spokane. If we did, it would be low in the horizon so the higher in elevation you can get, the better your chances.
I asked our morning meteorolgist about cloud coverage for tomorrow morning, and there is a chance we won’t see anything due to cloud cover. This morning would have been the perfect day for this. *shakes fist at the sky*
I’ll be awake starting at 3:00 a.m. so I plan to get out to my TV station early to see if I can see anything from the roof. I’ll keep everybody informed via Twitter (@BlushResponse). It’s always a good idea during these situations to double check your local weather reports as well as NASA.gov since anything could happen. Cancellations happen last minute all the time.