Activities aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour today will focus on a planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center this afternoon.
Endeavour has two opportunities to land today. The first begins with a deorbit burn of the Orbital Maneuvering System engines at 1:42 p.m. CST, followed by a landing at 2:48 p.m. In the event weather prevents a landing on that first opportunity, there is a second opportunity, beginning with a deorbit burn at 3:20 p.m. and resulting in a 4:26 p.m. landing.
Preliminary weather forecasts call for the possibility of clouds and rain showers in the vicinity of the three-mile-long landing strip, with a 30 percent probability of weather prohibiting landing. The backup landing site at California's Edwards Air Force Base has not been activated for today. Endeavour has sufficient consumables to remain in orbit until Sunday.
Commander Jim Wetherbee, Pilot Paul Lockhart and Missions Specialists Michael Lopez-Alegria and John Herrington have been in space since Nov. 23. Returning to Earth from the International Space Station with STS-113 is the Expedition Five crew - Commander Valery Korzun, NASA ISS Science Officer Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Sergei Treschev - which has been in space since June 5.
The new crew of the International Space Station - Expedition Six Commander Ken Bowersox, NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit and Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin - will spend its day, respectively, reconfiguring the station's computer network and loading new software onto the computers to support the crew's activities for the next four months; checking out the equipment in the Human Research Facility Rack and the station's defibrillator; and performing periodic maintenance on the station's Russian systems.
If Endeavour lands on time, crewmembers are tentatively scheduled to return to the Johnson Space Center in Houston on Friday afternoon.
The next status report will be issued after landing, or as events warrant.
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