Commander Curt Brown and Pilot Kent Rominger will fire Discovery's orbital maneuvering system engines at 5:13 a.m. CDT Monday to initiate the shuttle's return to Earth after 11 days of atmospheric research and space station technology tests.
Brown will guide the shuttle to a 6:14 a.m. CDT landing on runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center. Forecasters are predicting favorable conditions for Discovery's return to the Space Coast, but are watching carefully the possibility of fog developing at the last minute. Shuttle managers plan to shoot for a Tuesday landing in Florida if Monday's landing there is not feasible.
The crew's final day on orbit will begin with a wake-up call at 10:11 p.m. Sunday. About 1:30 a.m., the crew will finish packing up the last of the loose items in the crew cabin, and about 2:30 a.m. the shuttle's payload bay doors will be closed. Once the deorbit burn has been completed, Discovery will begin falling back to Earth and feel contact with the atmosphere at an altitude of 395,000 feet.
Flight Engineer Robert Curbeam and Mission Specialist Steve Robinson, both making their first shuttle flight, will join the commander and pilot on the flight deck for landing. Payload Commander Jan Davis and Payload Specialist Bjarni Tryggvason will be below on the middeck.
Returning to Earth with the astronauts will be the German-built Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere-Shuttle Pallet Satellite-2 (CRISTA-SPAS-2), which spent nine days flying in formation with Discovery and recording data about the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, and the Technology Applications and Science-1 (TAS-01) and International Extreme Ultraviolet Hitchhiker-2 (IEH-02) instruments, which scanned the Earth and the solar system from the payload bay. Also aboard will be the Japanese-built Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) experiment, which tested a small robotic arm destined for use on the future International Space Station.
The next mission status report will be issued after landing. A post-landing news conference featuring Entry Flight Director Wayne Hale and Shuttle Program Manager Tommy Holloway is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday.
The STS-85 astronauts are scheduled to return home to the Houston area and a ceremony at Ellington Field's Hangar 990 about 4:45 p.m. Monday.
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