KSC, Edwards Looking To The Skies
NASA reports that
Commander Steve Lindsey and his crew onboard the Space Shuttle
Discovery will complete their mission, STS-121, with a landing at
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL set for 9:07 am EDT on Monday, July
17. Discovery began its 13-day mission to the International Space
Station on July 4.
Landing at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility is slated to occur
on orbit 203 at the mission-elapsed time of 12 days, 18 hours and
29 minutes. The deorbit burn will occur at 8:04 am. Should
conditions not favor a landing at that time, a second Kennedy
landing opportunity is available at 10:42 am, with the deorbit burn
at 9:40 am.
Two landing opportunities are available at the back-up landing
location on Edwards Air Force Base, CA on Monday. However, mission
managers are expected to attempt a landing only at Kennedy Monday
unless there are technical reasons that would necessitate other
plans. The first opportunity at Edwards would be 12:11 pm EDT and
the second at 1:46 pm.
If landing occurs as scheduled, this will be the 62nd landing at
Kennedy in the history of the shuttle program. Discovery will be
serviced and prepared for its next mission, STS-116, targeted for
About an hour after touchdown, the STS-121 crew members (shown
below) will meet with their families and undergo initial physical
examinations. A post-mission press conference with the crew is
scheduled at Kennedy's News Center no earlier than six hours after
If Discovery lands at Edwards (as was the case last year) an augmented
Kennedy convoy team will be onsite to secure the orbiter, disembark
the crew and move the orbiter to the mate/demate device, the
structure used to prep the shuttle for its ferry flight back to
Kennedy atop NASA's modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
After relaxing for the day Thursday, the crew onboard the
shuttle has begun securing the orbiter to undock from the
International Space Station, and for its return from orbit. Before
that occurs, however, the astronauts will conduct a series of
"sweeps" -- using a sensor mounted on the shuttle's remote arm --
of the wings, searching for possible signs of damage caused by
The left wing was scanned on Friday, with the right wing
expected to be scanned Saturday.