Tue, Aug 21, 2007
Wind, Rain, Hurricane Not Expected To Pose Problems
They're committed now. Despite a
weather forecast now showing Houston will be spared the worst from
Hurricane Dean, the space shuttle Endeavour crew, led by Commander
Scott Kelly, is scheduled to complete its mission to the
International Space Station with a landing at NASA's Kennedy Space
Center in Florida on Tuesday -- one day earlier than originally
An ANN reported, the STS-118
mission began August 8. During their 13-day mission, the crew
installed a new gyroscope, an external spare parts platform and
another truss segment to the expanding station. This weekend, NASA decided to cut the
mission a day short, due to forecasts showing the Gulf
Coast of Texas -- and Mission Control in Houston -- in the path of
the approaching hurricane.
It appears that storm will now track further south... which
gives NASA managers some breathing room in returning the shuttle to
Earth. Officials at the space agency will evaluate weather
conditions at Kennedy before permitting Endeavour to return.
"I would say our chances are pretty good," said Steve Stich,
NASA's launch and entry flight director on STS-118 mission. For the
moment, a slight chance of rain -- combined with strong crosswinds
along runway 15/33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida --
are the only possible hinderances to a return at Kennedy.
Tuesday's landing opportunities are at 1232 and 1406 EDT. The
backup landing site at California's Edwards Air Force Base (shown
below) is available, but likely will not be considered for Tuesday.
The other backup site at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico
will not be activated on Tuesday (rats --
After touchdown, the astronauts will undergo physical
examinations and meet with their families. Some crew members are
expected to hold a news conference six hours after returning to
Should weather prevent a Kennedy landing Tuesday, NASA will
activate backup landing sites for attempts on Wednesday.
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