The Space Shuttle Endeavour will spend at least one more day in space awaiting acceptable landing weather after two opportunities to return to Florida today were bypassed due to low clouds at the landing site.
Flight controllers are now focusing on opportunities for landing on Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center. The next opportunity for a landing by Endeavour would begin with an engine firing at 12:49 p.m. CST Thursday leading to a touchdown in Florida at 1:54 p.m. CST. A second opportunity to land tomorrow also is available beginning with an engine firing at 2:26 p.m. CST leading to touchdown at 3:30 p.m. CST.
light controllers plan to monitor weather forecasts for Florida overnight before making a decision early tomorrow on whether to pursue Thursday's landing opportunities. The alternate shuttle landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California will not be considered on Thursday.
Endeavour has enough supplies to remain in orbit until at least Sunday if necessary. The current weather forecast for a Thursday landing calls for possible clouds and rain that could be unacceptable.
Aboard Endeavour are Commander Jim Wetherbee, Pilot Paul Lockhart, Mission Specialists Mike Lopez-Alegria and John Herrington and the returning International Space Station Expedition 5 crew of Commander Valery Korzun, Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev. Wetherbee, Lockhart, Lopez-Alegria and Herrington have been aloft since Nov. 23. Korzun, Whitson and Treschev have been in orbit since June 5.
The next Mission Control Center Status Report will be issued Thursday morning or as events warrant.
- end -