Kennedy News

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(321) 867-2468

March 11, 2002
RELEASE : 19-02
Note to Editors:
Columbia Scheduled To Land At KSC March 12
The orbiter Columbia is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Tuesday, March 12, at about 4:32 a.m. EST completing the nearly 11-day STS-109 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope that launched from KSC March 1, 2002.

Landing at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is slated to occur on orbit 165 at mission elapsed time 10 days, 22 hours, 10 minutes. The deorbit burn will occur at about 3:22 a.m. EST. The first two KSC landing opportunities on March 12 are at 4:32 a.m. EST and at 6:13 a.m. EST.

If managers must keep Columbia in orbit an additional day, two landing opportunities are available on Wednesday, March 13, at KSC at 2:40 a.m. EST and at 4:21 a.m. EST. Two landing opportunities also exist at the back-up landing location at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif., on Wednesday, at 4:12 a.m. EST and at 5:52 a.m. EST.

If landing occurs as scheduled, it will be the 58th landing at KSC in the history of the Shuttle program. Following landing, Columbia will be towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility for post-mission servicing.

After touchdown, the crew will be taken to crew quarters in the O&C Building, meet with their families and undergo physical examinations. A post-mission press conference with select members of the STS-109 crew is scheduled to occur at the KSC News Center about seven hours after touchdown. The Shuttle crew is scheduled to depart for Johnson Space Center the day following landing.

If Columbia lands at Edwards, an augmented KSC convoy team will be on-site to safe the vehicle, disembark the crew and move the orbiter to the Mate/Demate Device. The turnaround team will be deployed to Edwards by charter aircraft on landing day.

-- end of general release --

SLF and KSC Ground Operations

The Shuttle Landing Facility was built in 1975. It is 300 feet wide and 15,000 feet long with 1,000-foot overruns at each end. The strip runs northwest to southeast and is located about three miles northwest of the 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building.

Once the orbiter is on the ground, safing operations will commence and the flight crew will prepare the vehicle for post-landing operations. The Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV) will be used to assist the crew, allowing them to leave the vehicle and remove their launch and re-entry suits easier and quicker.

The CTV and other KSC landing convoy operations have been "on-call" since the launch of Columbia. The primary functions of the Space Shuttle recovery convoy are to provide immediate service to the orbiter after landing, assist crew egress, and prepare the orbiter for towing to the Orbiter Processing Facility about three hours following touchdown.

Convoy vehicles are stationed at the SLF's mid-point. About two hours prior to landing, convoy personnel don SCAPE suits, or Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble, and communications checks are made. A warming-up of coolant and purge equipment is conducted and nearly two-dozen convoy vehicles are positioned to move onto the runway as quickly and as safely as possible once the orbiter coasts to a stop. When the vehicle is deemed safe of all potential explosive hazards and toxic gases, the purge and coolant umbilical access vehicles move into position at the rear of the orbiter.

Following purge and coolant operations, flight crew egress preparations will begin and the CTV will be moved into position at the crew access hatch located on the orbiter's port side. A physician will board the Shuttle and conduct a brief preliminary examination of the astronauts. The crew will then make preparations to leave the vehicle.

-- end --

NOTICE TO EDITORS: The KSC press site will open for landing activities at 1 a.m. Tuesday, March 12. Accredited news media wishing to view Columbia's landing should be at the KSC News Center by 3 a.m. for transport to the SLF.

STS-109 launch/landing badging requirements and security restrictions for the media remain in effect. Media parking will be at Gate 2 on SR 3. Additional information regarding accreditation, transportation to the KSC Press Site, landing photo opportunities, post-landing press conferences with the STS-109 crew, and News Center operational hours is available by calling the KSC News Center at 321-867-2468.


- end -

text-only version of this release

To receive status reports and news releases issued from the Kennedy Space Center Newsroom electronically, send a blank e-mail message to To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail message to The system will confirm your request via e-mail.