Sunday, April 18, 2010

Discovery crew to test landing systems during last full day in space

Seven Discovery astronauts are awake for what is scheduled to be their last full day in orbit before an 8:51 a.m. EDT landing.

Mission Control played a Louis Armstrong rendition of "What a Wonderful World" as the crew's 12:21 a.m. wake-up tune, selected for mission specialist Stephanie Wilson.

"Everybody's excited and looking forward to another great day in space," radioed Rick "C.J." Sturckow, as astronaut communicating with the crew from Houston, as he and the entry flight director began shifts around 2:15 a.m.

"We are as well," said Alan Poindexter, the Discovery crew's commander.

On tap today -- Flight Day 14, following an April 5 launch -- is some packing of equipment and tests of the systems that the orbiter will use during its re-entry through the atmosphere and landing.

At 3:41 a.m. the crew is scheduled to check Discovery's flight control systems, including wing flaps, body flap and the tail fin rudder speed brake.

Steering jets are set to be test-fired at 4:51 a.m.

At 7:36 a.m., crew members will take a break to participate in a final round of in-flight media interviews with WBZ-AM Radio (Boston, Mass., Wilson's hometown), the Associated Press and KEZI Live (Eugene, Ore., hometown of pilot Jim Dutton).

They'll be audio only, since the spacecraft's failed video downlink antenna is already stowed. But you can tune in to hear their comments here by clicking on the NASA TV box to launch a viewer.

Then, at 11:30 a.m., catch the latest plans for landing during the last planned Mission Status Briefing. Entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney will review the weather outlook and opportunities for landing Monday or Tuesday.

The most recent forecast show a chance of showers Monday at Kennedy Space Center that could violate landing rules for attempts planned at 8:51 a.m. and 10:26 a.m. EDT.

Discovery's crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 4:21 p.m. today and awake at 12:21 a.m. Monday to get ready for landing. Click here to see a NASA TV schedule for the remainder of the mission, and here for the Flight Day 14 Execute Package of notes e-mailed to the crew.

IMAGE: A view of Earth from the International Space Station.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Once again the Shuttle is flying superbly. It makes sense to keep it flying while we develop successor vehicles that will operate in parallel and then gradually take over. That way the decades of experience of thousands of contractors will not be lost forever, and can be passed on. We can easily afford this with the increased NASA budget.

Airlines don't shut down for five years to bring in a new model, nor do car companies. The White House will listen if we just stop fighting among ourselves. Let's stop pointing fingers and get behind a plan that makes sense. Please.

Dan Woodard