Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Discovery Prepped For Last Landing

Discovery's astronauts are prepping their spaceship for its 39th and final landing today, and the weather looks as if it is going to cooperate.

With Discovery mission commander Steve Lindsey at the controls, NASA's fleet leader is expected to make a 225-mph touchdown at Kennedy Space Center's three-mile runway at 11:57 a.m.

Entry flight director Tony Ceccacci is scheduled to make a go or no-go call in the 20 minutes leading up to a planned 10:52 a.m. deorbit burn. The shuttle's payload bay doors are to be closed for flight at 8:12 a.m.

The Spaceflight Meteorology Group at the Johnson Space Center is predicting gusty winds that nonetheless will be within limits. A 21-knot headwind is expected on Runway 15, the northern end of the concrete landing strip at KSC. That's four knots below the limit.

Cloud coverage is not expected to be a problem and visibility is expected to be seven miles.

A second landing opportunity is available at 1:34 p.m. NASA's prime backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California is not being staffed for a landing attempt today. The shuttle has enough power and supplies to remain in orbit until Friday.

No comments: