Thursday, March 03, 2011

Discovery Gets A Second Extra Day In Space

Discovery and its crew will get another bonus day in space as a result of a decision to extend the shuttle's stay at the International Space Station until Monday.

Landing at Kennedy Space Center now is being targeted for 11:58 a.m. Wednesday with a second opportunity at 1:34 p.m. that day.

Mission managers made the decision based upon the shuttle's power-generating capability and the need to outfit a newly delivered storage module. Discovery can generate enough electricity to remain at the station two extra days (Sunday and Monday) and still being able to remain in space an additional two days for potential weather-related landing delays.

Discovery is one of two shuttles outfitted with a system that enables station-generated power to be transferred to the orbiter -- a factor in the decision to extend the mission two extra days. Endeavour is the other.

NASA already had decided to remain at the station one day longer than originally planned.

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