Endeavour’s crew began a journey home today, waking up at 3:19 a.m. CST to “Please Come Home For Christmas” sung by Jon Bon Jovi. Weather permitting, Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth just before noon today. On board Endeavour, Commander Dom Gorie, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists Linda Godwin and Dan Tani, along with the returning Expedition Three crew of Frank Culbertson, Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin, are preparing for a scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space Center. Preliminary weather forecasts predict generally acceptable conditions at the landing site, with a possibility of rain showers in the vicinity. The Entry flight team, led by Flight Director Leroy Cain, will receive its first weather briefing of the day at 6:30 a.m.
The first KSC landing opportunity today would begin with a deorbit burn of Endeavour’s large orbital maneuvering engines at 10:50 a.m. resulting in an 11:55 a.m. central time (12:55 p.m. eastern) landing. If weather precludes landing on that first opportunity, there is a second opportunity, one orbit later, with an engine firing at 12:28 p.m. resulting in a 1:32 p.m. central (2:32 p.m. eastern) touchdown. The alternate landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California has not been called up for launch support today.
Just before 7 a.m., the crew will begin its formal deorbit preparations and by 8:10 a.m., Endeavour’s payload bay doors should be closed in preparation for reentry. The crewmembers will begin climbing into their seats at 9:50 a.m., with a final “go, no go” call from the Entry Flight Director expected about 10:30 a.m. A landing today in Florida would conclude a voyage of more than 4.8 million miles for Endeavour and a 129-day stay in orbit for Culbertson, Dezhurov and Tyurin.
The next Mission Control status report will be issued following today’s landing or as events warrant.
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