After traveling more than 4½ million miles on a successful International Space Station assembly mission that saw four spacewalks during installation of the first segment of the station's main truss, Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center today.
Atlantis has two landing opportunities at KSC today. The first begins with the firing of Atlantis' braking rockets at 10:20 a.m. and a landing at 11:26 a.m. CDT. A second opportunity for a Florida landing would see the deorbit burn at 11:59 a.m. and a landing at KSC at 1:03 p.m. CDT. Forecasts call for favorable weather for landing in Florida Friday, with only scattered clouds expected. The backup-landing site at California's Edwards Air Force Base was not called up today. Atlantis has enough consumables to stay in orbit until Monday.
The crew of Atlantis - Commander Mike Bloomfield, Pilot Steve Frick, and Mission Specialists Ellen Ochoa, Rex Walheim, Lee Morin, Jerry Ross and Steve Smith - was awakened at 2:21 a.m. by the song "Message in a Bottle," performed by The Police.
Meanwhile, aboard the ISS, Expedition 4 Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Carl Walz and Dan Bursch monitored station systems this morning during another reboost of the orbiting laboratory. The Progress cargo ship's jets were fired to raise the station's altitude a little more than half a mile. During the STS-110 mission, Atlantis did three station reboosts, totaling about six miles.
The station crew also will deactivate some ISS systems today to prepare to board the Soyuz return vehicle early Saturday for its 35-minute move from the nadir port of the Zarya module to the Pirs Docking compartment. The relocation of the Soyuz will begin with undocking Saturday at 4:02 a.m. Coverage on NASA Television begins at 3 a.m.
The move frees the Zarya port for the arrival of a new Soyuz 4 craft on April 27 with a three-man "taxi" crew comprised of Commander Yuri Gidzenko, Flight Engineer Roberto Vittori of the European Space Agency and South African spaceflight participant Mark Shuttleworth. They will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on April 25 and will spend about a week aboard the station before departing in the Soyuz 3 craft May 4.
The next STS-110 status report will be issued after landing, or as events warrant.
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