Sunday, November 30, 2008

1205p 11/30 Update: Shuttle cleared for California landing


Posted: 12:05 PM, 11/30/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-85 (11/30/08): Shuttle crew passes up first landing opportunity
   SR-86 (11/30/08): Second Florida landing opportunity waved off; crew sets up for California landing pending final weather update
   SR-87 (11/30/08): Shuttle crew cleared for California landing


12:05 PM, 11/30/08, Update: Shuttle Endeavour cleared for California landing

The Endeavour astronauts, passing up two Florida landing opportunities, were cleared to fire the shuttle's braking rockets and head for a California landing today after forecasters concluded conditions at the Kennedy Space Center would not improve enough by Monday to warrant a one-day mission extension.

Flying upside down and backward over the Indian Ocean, commander Christopher Ferguson and pilot Eric Boe planned to fire Endeavour's twin braking rockets at 3:19:24 p.m., setting up a landing on runway 4L around 4:25 p.m.

"Based on the forecast at KSC tomorrow, which is similar, the winds are forecast to be similar to what they are today, a no-go forecast in addition to some upper level wind concerns, we're going to elect to press ahead with the Edwards opportunity today," radioed Alan Poindexter from mission control in Houston.

"OK, we understand," Ferguson replied. "And again, I know you folks have been working this real hard. My hat's off to weather, I'm sure he tried his best to make the weather as good as it can be at KSC, but it is what it is."

Here is a revised timeline of today's descent to runway 4L at Edwards (in EST; only the deorbit ignition time has been updated; other events reflect original estimates)


02:59:24 PM...MCC 'go' for deorbit burn
03:05:24 PM...Astronaut seat ingress
03:14:24 PM...Single hydraulic unit start

03:19:24 PM...Deorbit ignition (dT: 2:53; dV: 293 fps; alt 221 miles)
03:22:17 PM...Deorbit burn complete

03:53:32 PM...Entry interface (alt 75.6 miles)
03:58:27 PM...1st roll command to left
04:07:17 PM...1st left-to-right roll reversal
04:18:47 PM...Velocity less than mach 2.5 (alt 80,100 feet)
04:20:49 PM...Velocity less than mach 1 (alt 50,700 feet)
04:20:50 PM...Shuttle on the HAC (alt 50,500 feet)
04:25:12 PM...Landing on runway 04L


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