Sunday, November 30, 2008

750a 11/30 Update: Endeavour crew gears up for landing; Florida weather worsens

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CBS NEWS STS-126 STATUS REPORT: 84
Posted: 7:55 AM, 11/30/08

By William Harwood
CBS News Space Analyst

Changes and additions:

   SR-81 (11/29/08): Shuttle heat shield cleared for entry
   SR-82 (11/29/08): Lunney outlines landing strategy
   SR-83 (11/30/08): Progress supply ship docks at space station after Lonchakov takes over manual control
   SR-84 (11/30/08): Endeavour astronauts gear up for landing; Florida weather forecast worsens

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7:55 AM, 11/30/08, Update: Endeavour astronauts gear up for landing; Florida weather forecast worsens

The Endeavour astronauts are making final preparations for re-entry and landing today to close out a successful space station assembly mission. The forecast for the Kennedy Space Center in Florida has worsened, however, raising the prospect of a possible diversion to Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Forecasters are now calling for a chance of thunderstorms within 30 nautical miles of the Florida runway, turbulence below 10,000 feet and winds gusting to 28 knots, producing crosswinds well above NASA's 15-knot safety limit. The outlook for Monday calls for a possible broken deck of clouds at 5,000 feet or lower and out-of-limits crosswinds.

The astronauts have two opportunities to land today in Florida, the first at 1:19 p.m. and the second one orbit later at 2:54 p.m. If the weather doesn't cooperate - and if the forecast for Monday does not improve - entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney likely will divert the astronauts to a landing at Edwards, where forecasters expect ideal conditions today and Monday.

The first California landing opportunity comes at 4:25 p.m. EST. A second opportunity is available at 6 p.m. Lunney said Saturday he did not plan to take advantage of that final opportunity, but if he passes up the first shot at Florida, that last option would become available if needed.

There are no technical problems of any significance aboard Endeavour and the weather is the only real concern. Here is a timeline for today's re-entry activity covering all four possible landing opportunities (in EST; statute miles throughout; best viewed with fixed-width font):

EST...........EVENT

1. Rev. 248 Deorbit to Kennedy Space Center

08:14 AM......Begin deorbit timeline
08:29 AM......Radiator stow
08:39 AM......Mission specialists seat installation
08:45 AM......Computers set for deorbit prep
08:49 AM......Hydraulic system configuration
09:14 AM......Flash evaporator cooling system checkout
09:20 AM......Final payload deactivation
09:34 AM......Payload bay doors closed
09:44 AM......Mission control 'go' for OPS-3 software load
09:54 AM......OPS-3 entry software loaded
10:19 AM......Entry switchlist verification
10:29 AM......Deorbit maneuver update
10:34 AM......Crew entry review
10:49 AM......Commander/pilot don entry suits
11:06 AM......Inertial measurement unit alignment
11:14 AM......Commander/pilot strap in; others don suits
11:31 AM......Shuttle steering check
11:34 AM......Hydraulic system prestart
11:41 AM......Toilet deactivation
11:49 AM......Vent doors closed for entry
11:54 AM......MCC 'go' for deorbit burn
12:00 PM......Mission specialists seat ingress
12:09 PM......Single hydraulic power unit start

12:14:27 PM...Deorbit ignition (dT: 2:54; dV: 293 fps; alt 219.7 miles)
12:17:11 PM...Deorbit burn complete

12:47:49 PM...Entry interface (alt 75.6 miles)
12:52:45 PM...1st roll command to left
01:02:58 PM...1st left to right roll reversal
01:05:00 PM...C-band radar acquisition
01:13:06 PM...Velocity less than mach 2.5 (alt 82,000 feet)
01:15:14 PM...Velocity less than mach 1 (alt 47,400 feet)
01:16:02 PM...Shuttle on the HAC (alt 35,900 feet)
01:19:28 PM...Landing on runway 15


2. Rev. 249 Deorbit to Kennedy Space Center

01:30 PM......MCC 'go' for deorbit burn
01:36 PM......Mission specialists seat ingress
01:45 PM......Single hydraulic power unit start

01:50:32 PM...Deorbit ignition (dT: 2:54; dV: 294 fps; alt 222 miles)
01:53:26 PM...Deorbit burn complete

02:23:20 PM...Entry interface (alt 75.6 miles)
02:28:13 PM...1st roll command to right
02:41:20 PM...1st right-to-left roll reversal
02:48:36 PM...Velocity less than mach 2.5 (alt 83,000 feet)
02:50:43 PM...Velocity less than mach 1 (alt 47,500 feet)
02:51:12 PM...Shuttle on the HAC (alt 40,200 feet)
02:54:58 PM...Landing on runway 15


3. Rev. 250 Deorbit to Edwards Air Force Bace

03:00:41 PM...MCC 'go' for deorbit burn
03:06:41 PM...Mission specialists seat ingress
03:15:41 PM...Single hydraulic power unit start

03:20:41 PM...Deorbit ignition (dT: 2:53; dV: 293 fps; alt 221 miles)
03:23:34 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


4. Rev. 251 Deorbit to Edwards Air Force Bace

04:37:13 PM...MCC 'go' for deorbit burn
04:43:13 PM...Mission specialists seat ingress
04:52:13 PM...Single hydraulic power unit start

04:57:13 PM...Deorbit ignition (dT: 2:55; dV: 296 fps; alt 224 miles)
05:00:08 PM...Deorbit burn complete

05:29:10 PM...Entry interface (alt 75.5 miles)
05:34:08 PM...1st roll command to right
05:46:43 PM...1st right-to-left roll reversal
05:54:22 PM...Velocity less than mach 2.5 (alt 81,700 feet)
05:56:35 PM...Velocity less than mach 1 (alt 45,100 feet)
05:57:34 PM...Shuttle on the HAC (alt 31,200 feet)
06:00:37 PM...Landing on runway 22R

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Quick-Launch Web Links:

CBS News STS-126 Status Reports:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/current.html

CBS News STS-126 Quick-Look Page:
http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/currentglance.html

NASA ISS Expeditions Page:
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/index.html

NASA Shuttle Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/index.html
NASA Station Web: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/station/index.html
Spaceflight Now: http://spaceflightnow.com/index.html
GoogleSatTrack: http://www.lizard-tail.com/isana/tracking/

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