Columbia Scheduled to Land at KSC on Feb. 1
NASA Kennedy Space Center
Jan. 30, 2003
The orbiter Columbia is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Saturday, Feb. 1, at about 9:16 a.m. EST completing the 16-day STS-107 international microgravity research mission. Columbia launched from KSC on Jan. 16, 2003, at 10:39 a.m. EST.
Landing at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is slated to occur on orbit 255 at mission elapsed time 15 days, 22 hours, 37 minutes. The deorbit burn will occur at about 8:15 a.m. EST. A second KSC landing opportunity is also available on Feb. 1 at 10:50 a.m. EST with a deorbit burn coming at 9:50 a.m. EST.
If managers must keep Columbia in orbit beyond Saturday, two landing opportunities are available at KSC on Sunday, Feb. 2, at 7:38 a.m. EST and at 9:12 a.m. EST. Two additional times are also available at KSC on Monday, Feb. 3.
No landing opportunities are planned for the back-up landing location at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif., on Saturday or Sunday.
If landing occurs as scheduled, it will be the 62nd landing at KSC in the history of the Shuttle program. Following landing, Columbia will be serviced and prepared for its next mission, STS-118, targeted to launch in November 2003.
After touchdown, the STS-107 crew will be taken to their KSC quarters to meet with their families and undergo initial physical examinations. A post-mission press conference with select members of the STS-107 crew is scheduled to occur at the KSC News Center at about 6 p.m. EST. Media should check with the KSC Press Site for details.
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 processing facility a few 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.
NOTICE TO EDITORS: The KSC press site will open for landing activities at 5 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. Accredited news media wishing to view Columbia's landing should be at the KSC News Center no later than 7:45 a.m. for transport to the SLF. STS-107 launch badging requirements and security restrictions for the media remain in effect. Media parking will be at Gate 3 on S.R. 405. Additional information regarding accreditation, transportation to the KSC Press Site, landing photo opportunities, post-landing press conferences with the STS-107 crew, and News Center operational hours is available by calling the KSC News Center at (321) 867-2468.
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