Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Atlantis' Crew Prepares for Wednesday Landing

The six member crew of the space shuttle Atlantis spent Tuesday checking out the orbiter's systems in preparation for their homecoming tomorrow at the Kennedy Space Center.

Atlantis' commander Kenneth Ham, pilot Tony Antonelli and flight engineer Mike Good powered up a single auxiliary power unit this morning, testing the shuttle's reaction control system jets at 4:50 am EDT, and the steering systems such as the elevon, rudder and speed brake.

The crew also took time out this morning beginning at 8:15 am to answer questions from ABC news and comedian Steven Colbert of the "Colbert Report".

Colbert, whose in "training' to become an astronaut, asked questions such is the batteries which were changed out were AA; and the retirement of the shuttle and that his decision to become an astronaut may be bad timing.

Atlantis spent seven days docked to the International Space Station in which they delivered a new Russian module; replaced six 400-pound batteries on the Port 6 truss; and delivered fresh supplies, water and fuel to the outpost.

Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steven Bowen and Piers Sellers round out Atlantis' crew. The astronauts will also spend the day stowing equipment and preparing the orbiter for a morning landing upon America's Space Coast.

Landing of NASA's 132nd space shuttle flight would see the orbiter fire her braking engines at 7:41 am EDT, slowing the orbiter down by about 220 mph and begin her freefall out of orbit.

Atlantis is set to touchdown at Kennedy's runway 33 on Wednesday morning at 8:48 am.

Mission control CAPCOM astronaut Charlie Hobaugh told Atlantis' commander today that there is likely a 50-50 chance of a landing upon America's space coast tomorrow.

"They are carrying a chance of rain showers within 30 miles, they've been watching it today, and a low that's about 600 miles off shore will move a little tomorrow and hopefully keep some of those showers at bay," Hobaugh radioed the crew. "It's just something we'll have to watch tomorrow."

The below ground track would see Atlantis land on her 186th orbit of the planet, following nearly twelve days in space.

If weather precludes a Wednesday landing, then NASA will only call up Kennedy on Thursday.

Atlantis ground track to KSC on Wednesday. (NASA)

No comments:

copyright 1998 - 2010 Charles Atkeison, SpaceLaunchNews.com. All rights reserved.