Monday, May 30, 2011

Crosswinds watched for Endeavour landing

Early forecasts show stiff crosswinds could pose a challenge for Endeavour's planned 2:35 a.m. Wednesday landing at Kennedy Space Center, but NASA says there's plenty of time for conditions to improve.

"Florida is what it is until you're just about to launch or land there, so I'm not too excited about it yet," said Gary Horlacher, the lead shuttle flight director.

The Spaceflight Meteorology Group's most recent forecast predicts crosswinds that would exceed allowable limits of 12 knots for a night landing. But Horlacher said the winds this morning were fairly calm.

"Until we get a bit closer, I'm not too excited about that forecast," he said.

Endeavour commander Mark Kelly told Horlacher he was confident winds would remain within limits.

"I know there's a little bit of a crosswind issue that we're looking at, but I think it's going to shape up so we can set the wheels down around 2:30 in the morning," he said.

Tony Ceccacci, the entry flight director, will hold a briefing at 5 a.m. Tuesday to update the forecast and landing plans, which preliminarily would make KSC the only active landing site Wednesday morning.

As for the mission in progress, Horlacher said this morning's undocking and re-rendezvous with the International Space Station were "pretty much flawless."

Six Endeavour astronauts are scheduled to go to sleep at 10:56 a.m. and awake at 6:56 p.m. to begin their final full planned day in space, including preparations for landing and a round of media interviews at 9:06 p.m.

1 comment:

Deen said...

Its good to get an occasional cross wind landing in to keep the skills current.