[sarex] Management Team Clears Discovery for Re-Entry; Crew Prepares for Friday Landing
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Thu Dec 21 15:28:18 PST 2006
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
*Management Team Clears Discovery for Re-Entry; Crew Prepares for Friday
Image above: Space Shuttle Discovery is pictured from a miniature
satellite that was released from Discovery's payload bay on Wednesday.
Image Credit: DOD Space Test Program TO VIEW IMAGE GO TO:
About 3:35 p.m. EST, flight controllers at the Mission Control Center in
Houston told Commander Mark Polansky that the Mission Management Team
has cleared Space Shuttle Discovery for re-entry. The decision came
after analysis of data collected during Wednesday’s inspection of
Discovery’s heat shield.
Discovery’s first landing opportunity is scheduled at 3:56 p.m. EST
Friday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. If weather does not cooperate, six
more opportunities at three landing sites are available. The Friday
weather forecast currently calls for a chance of rain and low clouds at
Kennedy, potential strong crosswinds at Edwards Air Force Base in
California and acceptable landing conditions at White Sands Space Harbor
in New Mexico.
The last opportunity at Kennedy is at 5:32 p.m. Three exist at Edwards –
5:27 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:36 p.m. Two are available at White Sands – 5:27
p.m. and 7:02 p.m. All three sites will be activated. Landing
opportunities also are available Saturday at all three sites.
In preparation for landing, Polansky and Pilot Bill Oefelein checked out
Discovery’s systems and jets that will be used in the deorbit burn and
landing. Also, crew members are busy stowing equipment and other items.
Other preparations include a review of the landing procedure and stowage
of the Ku-band antenna.
The crew members took a break this afternoon to talk with reporters from
CNN and ABC News and with students at the Kenai, Alaska, Challenger Center.
In other activities, the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE)
was deployed from Discovery's payload bay at 1:23 p.m. ANDE will measure
the density and composition of the low-Earth orbit atmosphere while
being tracked from the ground. The data will be used to better predict
the movement of objects in orbit. Two other small satellites were
deployed Wednesday night.
Discovery undocked from the station Tuesday, ending an eight-day stay at
the orbital outpost. While there, the crew continued the construction of
the station with the addition of the P5 spacer truss segment during the
first of four spacewalks. The next two spacewalks rewired the station’s
power system, leaving it in a permanent setup. A fourth spacewalk was
added to allow the crew to retract solar arrays that had folded improperly.
Discovery also delivered a new crew member and more than two tons of
equipment and supplies to the station. Almost two tons of items no
longer needed on the station will return to Earth with STS-116.
More information about the SAREX