Landing Coverage

    Welcome to the STS-118 Landing Blog
    Endeavour and its crew landed safely at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Aug. 21, 2007, capping a nearly 13-day mission to the International Space Station.

    Activated: 10:30 a.m. EDT
    Deactivated: 1:25 p.m. EDT

    Video Gallery
    Video highlights from today's landing are selected from televised coverage provided by NASA TV.
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    Note: All times are given in Eastern (EDT) unless otherwise noted.

    1:25 p.m. - Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts landed safely on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15, closing the book on the STS-118 mission to the International Space Station. Before the astronauts depart for the crew quarters, they'll take part in the traditional walkaround of the orbiter that has been their home for nearly two weeks. Once Endeavour is fully safed and ready to leave the runway, it will be towed to the nearby Orbiter Processing Facility, where it will begin processing for its next mission. This concludes today's live landing coverage. Thanks for joining NASA's Landing Blog today, and remember to visit the Space Shuttle Web site for the latest updates.

    1:08 p.m. - Endeavour's side hatch is open and the crew members are exiting the orbiter. As the astronauts leave Endeavour, they enter a crew transportation vehicle, where they'll go through a quick medical checkout before stepping out onto the runway.

    12:53 p.m. - It's been a little over 20 minutes since Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts touched down at Kennedy Space Center. Inside the orbiter, the crew is moving through a post-landing checklist while the landing convoy gathers around the vehicle to work on "safing" procedures.

    12:48 p.m. - The astronauts have been given the go-ahead to get out of their launch-and-entry suits.

    12:32 p.m. - Landing gear is down and locked. ...Main gear touchdown. ...Nose gear touchdown. Endeavour is rolling out on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15 on a warm and sunny Florida afternoon.

    Wheel stop! Endeavour is officially home after a nearly 13-day, 5.3-million-mile mission.

    12:29 p.m. - The shuttle's signature twin sonic booms just sliced through the silence at Kennedy Space Center, a loud but welcome sign that Endeavour and its seven astronauts will arrive shortly. Stand by.

    12:27 p.m. - As Endeavour glides toward landing, the orbiter is approaching the "heading alignment circle." Commander Scott Kelly will guide the vehicle on a wide turn to align with the runway.

    12:22 p.m. - Endeavour is flying at an altitude of 136,000 feet as it passes over the southern portion of Florida. Ten minutes to touchdown.

    12:17 p.m. - Fifteen minutes until touchdown. Endeavour is flying 8,900 miles per hour over the Caribbean as it approaches Florida for a landing at 12:32 p.m.

    12:07 p.m. - The orbiter is rolling to the left in the first of four steep banking maneuvers. This series of rolls will help bleed off excess energy and slow the orbiter down. The pressure is building up around Endeavour and the orbiter's aerosurfaces are taking over control of the vehicle.

    12:01 p.m. - Endeavour is beginning to encounter the effects of the atmosphere, a point called "entry interface." Now flying at about 15,900 miles per hour, the orbiter is angled upward, wings level. About 31 minutes until touchdown.

    11:43 a.m. - At Kennedy Space Center, a long line of landing convoy vehicles is snaking its way toward the Shuttle Landing Facility. The convoy includes 20 to 30 specially designed vehicles or units that will "safe" the orbiter, assist in crew departure and tow the vehicle to the nearby processing facility.

    11:31 a.m. - Endeavour is turning back toward a nose-forward, wings-level orientation. One hour from now, the orbiter will be on its final approach to the runway in Florida.

    11:28 a.m. - "Endeavour, good deorbit burn. No trim required," astronaut Chris Ferguson called up to the astronauts aboard the orbiter. With the burn complete, Endeavour is headed for a landing at Kennedy Space Center at 12:32 p.m.

    11:25 a.m. - The deorbit burn is under way! More than 200 miles above the coast of Malaysia, Endeavour's two orbital maneuvering system engines are firing for three and a half minutes -- enough to slow the vehicle by 252 miles per hour and start its descent through Earth's atmosphere. During the burn, the orbiter is turned to a tail-first orientation, so that the maneuvering system engines -- located on "pods" at the aft end of the vehicle, near the three main engines -- fire in the direction of travel. Each engine produces 6,000 pounds of thrust.

    Endeavour is targeting Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility.

    11:20 a.m. - The first of three auxiliary power units is being started aboard Endeavour. The units provide hydraulic power to the orbiter's aerosurfaces, such as wing flaps and tail rudder. The remaining units will be started following the deorbit burn, coming up in five minutes.

    11:07 a.m. - GO for the deorbit burn! Endeavour's glide back to Earth will begin at 11:25 a.m. Astronaut Chris Ferguson just relayed the good news from Mission Control up to the flight crew.

    11:00 a.m. - The "go/no-go" decision on the deorbit burn is coming up. The crew has already been given the go to maneuver to the deorbit burn attitude.

    10:47 a.m. - A steering check of Endeavour's two orbital maneuvering system engines is complete.

    10:45 a.m. - Shortly before coverage began, the STS-118 crew members took their seats in Endeavour's crew module. Commander Scott Kelly and Pilot Charlie Hobaugh are joined on the flight deck by Mission Specialists Barbara Morgan and Richard Mastracchio. Mission Specialists Dave Williams, Tracy Caldwell and Alvin Drew will ride home on the middeck.

    10:30 a.m. - It's homecoming day for the seven astronauts aboard Endeavour. After nearly two weeks in orbit on an assembly flight to the International Space Station, the STS-118 mission is drawing to a close. The orbiter and crew are due to arrive at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 12:32 p.m. this afternoon following a deorbit burn at 11:25 a.m.

    The weather forecast at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility is favorable overall. Crosswinds are forecast to stay within limits on the first landing opportunity, but could exceed limits for the second opportunity at 2:06 p.m. The winds have not been an issue at this point. To keep an eye on things, astronaut Steven Lindsey is flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft around the landing area this morning to monitor weather conditions.

    Meanwhile, in space, the astronauts aboard Endeavour were awakened a little after 4:30 a.m. and have been working all morning to get their ship and themselves ready for today's landing. They've closed Endeavour's payload bay doors, transitioned the onboard computers to "Ops 3" (the software package for landing), and climbed into their orange launch-and-entry suits. Another pre-landing action for the crew is to consume large quantities of fluid -- about 40 ounces each. This "fluid loading" activity helps their bodies adjust to the return to gravity.

    The "go/no-go" call for the deorbit burn is expected soon, so stay with NASA's Landing Blog for the latest.

    Live Coverage Team
    Blog Updates: Anna Heiney
    Site Updates/Photo Gallery: Steve Siceloff
    Video Uploads/Captions: Elaine Marconi
    Quality Control: Cheryl Mansfield
    Video Capture/Editing: Chris Chamberland,
    Michael Chambers and Gianni Woods