With promising weather forecast for the Kennedy Space Center, preparations are under way to bring the seven-member crew of Discovery home following a successful mission to refurbish and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
The crew's day began with a wake-up call from Mission Control, “The Cup of Life,” sung by Ricky Martin. The music was the official song of France ’98 World Cup Soccer and was played for Mission Specialist #2, Jean-Francois Clervoy of the European Space Agency at the request of his son.
Entry Flight Director Wayne Hale and his team of flight controllers have three attempts to bring Discovery home to Florida today. The first opportunity would see a firing of the Shuttle's large orbital maneuvering system engines at 3:06 p.m. to drop Discovery out of orbit and begin its high speed reentry toward Earth. Landing would occur at 4:18 p.m. Central time (5:18 p.m. EST).
The second opportunity would see a deorbit burn at 4:48 p.m., resulting in a landing at 6:01 p.m. Central time (7:01 p.m. EST). The final opportunity for the day would have the deorbit burn occurring at 6:31 p.m. with landing to follow at 7:43 p.m. Central (8:43 p.m. EST). If Discovery lands on either of the last two opportunities, Commander Curt Brown and his crew would make the 13th night landing in Shuttle program history.
The entry flight controllers will be receiving updated weather forecasts throughout the day, however the initial prediction is for favorable weather with a few high level clouds. Earlier predictions of cross winds at or near acceptable limits appear to be trending in a positive direction. Weather at the alternate landing site at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California also is predicted to be very good today although KSC is the prime landing site for today's opportunities.
The next status report will be issued after Discovery's landing or a wave-off decision is made.
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