Columbia’s astronauts will wake at 7:46 p.m. CST Wednesday night to begin their final full day in orbit, making the preparations to assure Columbia is ready for entry and landing.
At about 10:45 p.m. CST tonight, the crew will begin stowing the equipment used in the mission’s two space walks. The EVA tools and space suit components will be put away while final health checks are performed on some of the USMP experiment hardware.
Commander Kevin Kregel and Pilot Steve Lindsey will spend a good part of their day checking out the important space craft systems that are needed to support entry. At about 3:45 a.m. CST, the commander and pilot will begin the normal flight control system checkout, powering up one auxiliary power unit and evaluating the performance of aerodynamic surfaces and flight controls. The flight crew will perform a reaction control system hot fire about 5 a.m. followed by a test of the communications system.
The Ku-band antenna which provides high data rate relay and television will be stowed at approximately 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
The flight control teams in Mission Control also are working toward Friday’s landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, now set for 6:21 a.m. CST. Currently there are no significant weather concerns for landing. Landing time may be adjusted slightly after the effects of experiment maneuvers today are calculated.
In the previous crew day, astronauts Winston Scott and Takao Doi completed a four-hour, fifty-nine-minute, forty-second spacewalk which ended at 8:09 a.m. this morning. Combined with the first spacewalk duration of 7 hours, 43 minutes, Scott and Doi completed 12 hours and 44 minutes outside Columbia’s crew cabin during the mission.
The next mission status report will be issued at 6 a.m. CST Thursday.
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