Saturday, May 23, 2009

NASA to Bring Atlantis Home on Sunday

Mission Control will take another look at the weather early tomorrow morning and work hard again to get the space shuttle Atlantis back home to either Kennedy Space Center or a desert runway landing out in California.

It costs NASA $1.5 million to land an orbiter out at Edwards, AFB in California, and then carry it back home atop a jumbo Boeing 747 to Kennedy. Thus, Atlantis' STS-125 Entry Flight Director Norm Knight will go the distance in making sure he has exhausted all possibilities for a Sunday landing at America's Spaceport.

The first landing attempt [above] would see Atlantis fire her twin engines at 8:58 am EDT, to fall out of orbit for a 10:11 am touchdown here at KSC. The second landing opportunity would see the main gear of NASA's 24 year-old orbiter at 11:49 am.

Edwards, AFB has a few landing options for Sunday as well with the first [left] seeing a deorbit burn at 10:25 am and landing on Runway 22 at 11:40 am; and second landing try at 1:19 pm EDT.

Rains and low clouds continued to hug Cape Canaveral into late today, and the forecast for mid morning on Sunday does not look promising. Current Cape Weather is calling for variable clouds with scattered showers in the morning, then thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 78F. Winds east at 5 to 10 mph.

Atlantis launched on her current mission on May 11th on a now successfully mission to restore and fix the Hubble Space Telescope.

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