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Thu, Nov 26, 2009

Space Shuttle Atlantis Crew Set To Land In Florida Friday

Spectacular Mission Heads Home For The Holidays

Space shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew are expected to return to Earth on Friday, Nov. 27, after an 11-day mission. The two landing opportunities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are at 9:44 a.m. and 11:19 a.m. EST and are currently forecast to use Runway 33.

NASA will evaluate weather conditions at Kennedy before permitting Atlantis and its crew to land. If bad weather prevents a return to Florida on Friday or Saturday, both Kennedy and the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California will be activated for consideration on Sunday.

After touchdown in Florida, the astronauts will undergo physical examinations and meet with their families. They are expected to make brief remarks at the runway and hold a news conference approximately six hours after landing. Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 4:53 a.m. EST Wednesday, ending a successful resupply visit that included three spacewalks. The total docked time was 6 days, 17 hours and 2 minutes.

Atlantis brought to the station about 14 tons of cargo in its payload bay, including two large carriers with heavy spare parts that were installed on the station. The shuttle also carried about a ton of cargo in its crew cabin. It is bringing home about the same weight of cabin cargo from the orbiting laboratory.

 

During a purge of the space shuttle waste water tank Wednesday morning, Mission Control noticed a reduction in the flow from the nozzle that vents the waste water into space. This has occurred on past shuttle missions and is not expected to be an issue. Capsule Communicator Stan Love told Atlantis Commander Charles Hobaugh it is likely no further waste dumps will be necessary before Friday's planned landing.

Shuttle astronauts used the camera on the Orbiter Boom Sensor System to survey the condition of Atlantis’ waste water dump nozzle. Capcom Megan McArthur told Commander Charles Hobaugh that it appears there is a slight discoloration that could be frost, but no ice. It is likely that there is a blockage in the line, which will not be a concern for a planned Friday landing.

Photo Courtesy NASA

The waste water system stores waste from the crew cabin humidity separator and from the crew. The tank is located below the crew compartment middeck floor, and the dump nozzle is on the left side of the shuttle.

This flight was not without some other unusual though quite welcome moments... On Sunday, Bresnik told the flight controllers his new daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik, had been born in Houston at 11:04 p.m. CST Saturday. He said his wife Rebecca and new daughter, 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long, were doing well. Bresnik got the news by private phone patch through mission control shortly after the crew was awakened.


FMI: www.twitter.com/nasa, www.nasa.gov/shuttle

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