Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Live in orbit: Endeavour's last morning at station

Seven Endeavour astronauts are counting down the hours left in their 11-day visit to the International Space Station.

After five spacewalks and frequent use three robotic arms to install hardware, the Endeavour crew is set to say goodbye to six station residents just before 10:30 a.m. EDT.

About three hours later, pilot Doug Hurley will back the shuttle away from the outpost and guide it through a loop around the station, allowing the crew to take photos of its condition.

Then, a little after 3 p.m., the shuttle will fire its engines to separate from the station and begin a nearly three-day journey home.

Endeavour will do a final inspection of heat shields Wednesday, while back at the station, an unmanned Russian spacecraft carrying 2.5 tons of supplies will dock. Endeavour is undocking slightly earlier than originally planned to make sure it's out of the way for the Progress freighter.

On Thursday, Endeavour's crew will deploy two small experimental satellites from the shuttle's payload bay.

Landing is planned for 10:52 a.m. EDT Friday at Kennedy Space Center.

Here's a look at the day ahead:

++ 3:03 a.m.: Endeavour and International Space Station crews wake up.
++ 7:03 a.m.: Rendezvous tool checkout.
++ 10:23 a.m.: Farewell and hatch closure.
++ 11:08 a.m.: Centerline camera installation and Orbiter Docking System leak checks.
++ 1:26 p.m.: Endeavour undocks from station.
++ 1:55 p.m.: Endeavour begins flyaround to shoot photos of station.
++ 3:09 p.m.: Endeavour fires engines jets to begin journey home.
++ 7:03 p.m.: Crew sleeps.

Check out this NASA TV schedule for a look upcoming mission highlights all the way through Endeavour's landing. (Editor's note: updated with this morning's revised schedule.)

You can watch the mission live here. Just click on the NASA TV still image in the right column of this page to launch a viewer and check back here for updates.

No comments: