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Tuesday, July 24, 2001, 6 p.m. CDT
STS-104 Mission Control Center Status Report #26

"Hold Back the Rain" by Duran Duran was the wakeup song for Atlantis crewmembers about 2:30 p.m. CDT Tuesday. Houston's Mission Control Center told the astronauts that the weather appears to be excellent for a landing late tonight to wrap up their 13-day mission.

The forecast for Kennedy Space Center calls for a few scattered clouds and no rain for both landing opportunities this evening.

Atlantis Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Janet Kavandi, Mike Gernhardt and Jim Reilly began final deorbit preparations around 5:40 p.m. for the first landing opportunity at KSC. Atlantis' payload bay doors are to be closed at 6:52 p.m. Crewmembers will climb into their seats just after 8:30 p.m. Atlantis' orbital maneuvering system engines will begin firing at 9:32 p.m. to drop the shuttle out of orbit for a 10:39 p.m. CDT landing at KSC on the 3-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility runway.

A second landing opportunity at KSC would see a deorbit burn at 11:08 p.m. and touchdown at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Aboard the International Space Station, the Expedition Two crew, Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Susan Helms and Jim Voss, will be awakened just before midnight to resume their full work schedule after two light days of activity. Flight controllers in Moscow successfully performed the fourth of five scheduled orbital adjustment burns using jet thrusters on the Progress supply vehicle docked at the rear of the Service Module Tuesday afternoon. The maneuvers are designed to optimize the station's orbit for the arrival of the next Progress vehicle in August and the Russian Docking Compartment in September.

Both spacecraft are in excellent condition, orbiting at an average altitude of about 240 statute miles.

The next mission status report will be issued after landing or as events warrant.


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