Sunday, February 21, 2010

Endeavour to land at KSC today.....maybe....

Although the skies don't look too bad right now at the Kennedy Space Center, the weather forecast for landing time continues to call for low cloud ceilings and showers in the area.

A final decision whether to land on time will come around 9 p.m., leading to ignition of Endeavour's braking rockets at 9:14:52 p.m. for 2 minutes and 38 seconds to start the trek home. The shuttle would hit the upper atmosphere at 9:49 p.m.

Landing on Runway 15 at the Kennedy Space Center is scheduled for 10:20:37 p.m. EST.

If the weather or a problem forces entry flight director Norm Knight to scrub the day's first re-entry opportunity and keep Endeavour in space, there is a backup landing option available one orbit later. That would begin with a deorbit engine firing at 10:50:52 p.m. and a touchdown in Florida at 11:55:50 p.m. EST.

NASA is calling up support from the alternate landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert of California. So if the weather prevents a landing in Florida, the spacecraft could be diverted there. The first deorbit opportunity will be 12:20:31 a.m. EST and landing on the temporary Runway 22R at 1:25:41 a.m. EST. A second shot into Edwards would come an orbit later.

However, weather forecasters are calling for the chance of low clouds and rain showers at both landing sites tonight. :(


UPDATE: GO FOR THE DEORBIT BURN! Weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center are going to cooperate for the space shuttle landing this evening, allowing entry flight director Norm Knight in Mission Control to give final approval for Endeavour to perform the deorbit burn at 9:14:47 p.m. EST that will commit the spacecraft for the journey back to Earth.

Touchdown in Florida on Runway 15 is set for 10:20:32 p.m. EST

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