Moving ever further from the International Space Station, Discovery's crew is now focused on a return home with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, late Tuesday.
The crew was awakened to the song "Just What I Needed," performed by The Cars and played for returning International Space Station Commander Bill Shepherd, who, along with crew mates Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, is riding home aboard Discovery after four and a half months in orbit. Discovery's crew today will check out the flight controls the shuttle will require for the trip home, test fire the shuttle's steering jets, and perform an engine firing to adjust the shuttle's orbit to optimize landing opportunities. The crew also will spend much of the day packing up for Tuesday's entry and landing.
Shepherd, Gidzenko and Krikalev will take a break from packing at 11:12 p.m. Central to field questions from CNN, CBS News and KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, during a 20-minute interview. Later, at about 3:37 a.m. Central Tuesday, the crew will turn off and stow the shuttle's Ku-band antenna, used for television transmissions to the ground, for the remainder of the mission.
All preparations are focused on a landing for Discovery with a touchdown at 11:56 p.m. Central at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The weather forecast for landing in Florida currently calls for showers and low clouds that could be unacceptable. Options also exist for a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California early Wednesday, if flight controllers decide to pursue those.
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