Friday, July 31, 2009

Weather Improves for Endeavour's Landing

The summer weather here along the Florida Space Coast has improved this morning in support of a 10:48 am EDT landing by space shuttle Endeavour following 16 successful days on orbit.

Endeavour's crew closed and latched her payload bay doors at 7 am, and later began software updates to prepare turning their ship from space craft to an atmospheric glider.

When Mission Control clears the weather this morning, Endeavour's commander Mark Polansky will fire the ship's twin orbital maneuvering engines for nearly 3 minutes at 9:41 am EDT, to begin their decent and drop out of orbit. The deorbit burn will slow the orbiter's speed by 207 miles per hour to allow for it to drop out of orbit.

Landing is currently planned for the Kennedy Space Center's runway 15 with a main gear touchdown at 10:48 am.

Endeavour's crew includes commander Polansky, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Julie Payette (Canada), Christopher Cassidy, David Wolf, Tom Mashburn and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata who is coming home after four months aboard the international space station.

One hour prior to the deorbit burn, the seven member crew will begin drinking fluids to keep from dehydrating & in support of their fluid shifts during the reentry. They will "consume 8 ounces of water or artificially sweetened drink with two salt tablets, or 8 ounces of Chicken Consommé every 15 minutes".


CDR (Polansky) 40 oz - Chicken Consommé
PLT (Hurley) 40 oz - Orange Drink w/ A/S
MS1 (Cassidy) 40 oz - Water
MS2 (Payette) 24 oz - Chicken Consommé 8 oz - Lemon-Lime Ade
MS3 (Marshburn) 16 oz - Water 8 oz - Tropical Punch w/ A/S 8 oz - Chicken Consommé
MS4 (Wolf) 40 oz - Water 10
MS5 (Wakata) 32 oz - Water 8

One hour following landing, the crew will leave Endeavour, and except for Wakata, will perform the walk around inspection of the ship as it rests on the runway after traveling over 6 million miles.

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