After their successful mission to the International Space Station, Endeavour astronauts spent much of Sunday getting ready to land at Kennedy Space Center Monday afternoon. They tested Endeavour's controls and stowed equipment in preparation for their 5:04 p.m. CST landing in Florida.
The weather forecast for the anticipated landing time at Kennedy Space Center calls for a slight chance of showers in the area, and flight controllers will continue to monitor the weather conditions in Florida tomorrow. Landing opportunities are available at Edwards Air Force Base in California as well on Monday, and flight controllers could opt to send Endeavour there if conditions warrant. The weather at Edwards is predicted to be favorable.
There are two landing opportunities on Monday at Kennedy Space Center. The second is at 6:41 p.m. Edwards has three opportunities. The first is at 6:35 p.m. CST, the second at 8:09 p.m. and the third at 9:46 p.m.
Endeavour's five crew members, Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Mike Bloomfield and Mission Specialists Marc Garneau, Carlos Noriega and Joe Tanner, were awakened at 6:06 a.m. They checked out the flight control surfaces - the rudder and flaps that will control Endeavour after it enters the atmosphere. They also checked out the reaction control system thrusters that will keep the orbiter in the proper attitude as it begins its fiery re-entry.
Jett, Tanner and Noriega talked with reporters from the Associated Press and the Telemundo and Univision networks a little before 3 p.m. Sunday, before focusing on their stowage tasks. Endeavour's crew was scheduled to begin its sleep period just after 10 p.m. and to be awakened at 6:06 a.m. Monday to begin landing-day activities.
Aboard the station, now about 1,250 miles behind Endeavour, Expedition 1 Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev were awakened at midnight. They had a light day, doing housekeeping tasks and speaking with family and friends via radio. Their scheduled sleep period began about 3:30 p.m.
The next STS-97 status report will be issued Monday morning.
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