STS-127 MCC Status Report #31
5 p.m. CDT Thursday, July 30, 2009
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
Leaving behind in orbit a new porch for the International Space Station, two pair of small research satellites, and a new space station resident, the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is turning its attention toward home.
Endeavour is scheduled to land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Friday with a touchdown at 9:48 a.m. CDT. The shuttle would begin its descent from orbit with a deorbit engine firing at 8:42 a.m. CDT. In preparation for that landing, Endeavour's payload bay doors would be closed at 6:02 a.m. CDT. Weather conditions at Kennedy are forecast to be favorable for landing, although a slight chance of rain is possible.
A second opportunity exists for a landing in Florida on Friday, beginning with a deorbit engine firing at 10:17 a.m. CDT, leading to an 11:22 a.m. CDT touchdown. No other shuttle landing sites are being considered for a Friday landing. If weather prevents a landing Friday, alternate landing sites would be called up for Saturday’s landing opportunities.
Today, Endeavour Commander Mark Polansky and Pilot Doug Hurley checked out the systems the shuttle will use as it returns home, finding everything in excellent shape. The crew also deployed two pairs of small satellites from canisters in the shuttle’s payload bay. The first, called Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator Satellite (DRAGONSat), studies the independent rendezvous of spacecraft in orbit using Global Positioning Satellite data. The two satellites were designed and built by students at the University of Texas, Austin, and Texas A&M University, College Station.
The second pair of satellites, called Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment-2 (ANDE-2), measure the density and composition of the rarified atmosphere 200 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Endeavour will bring home Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, who has spent 138 days in space and was a member of three station expedition crews. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra launched aboard Endeavour and remains on the station as a resident.
Endeavour's crew begins its sleep period at 5:03 p.m. CDT. The crew will awaken at 1:03 a.m. CDT Friday. The next shuttle status report will be issued after landing, or earlier if events warrant.
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