Monday, May 30, 2011

Endeavour's crew prepares for Wednesday's landing in Florida

The crew of shuttle Endeavour continue to move the orbiter away from the International Space Station today, and prepare for their Florida homecoming early on Wednesday.

The final space flight of Endeavour is set to conclude at the Kennedy Space Center with a landing in the Florida darkness and onto a three mile runway located in the middle of a wildlife refuge.

Endeavour's twenty-fifth flight will wrap up sixteen days in space, including 12 busy days docked to the space station, and will have made 249 orbits of the earth as the spacecraft glides home.

Endeavour's commander Mark Kelly and pilot Greg Johnson will begin to break Endeavour out of earth orbit at 1:30 a.m. EDT on June 1, and aim for a main gear touch down upon runway 15 at 2:35 a.m.

California's Edwards AFB will not be called up to support a Wednesday landing, however the desert runway will be called up in the event landing is delay one day to Thursday.

NASA on Sunday released the landing ground tracks for the first opportunity. A second opportunity exists for a target touchdown into Kennedy at 4:11 a.m.

The concern for wind gusts and crosswinds over the runway may be of concern as the Air Force meteorology group predicts gusts of 20 m.p.h. at landing. Scattered clouds and a temperature of 74 degrees is also forecast.

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