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Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 2 a.m. CST
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-122 MCC Status Report #24
Atlantis’ seven-member crew will complete the final preparations today for their return home, wrapping up their 13-day mission with a scheduled early Wednesday morning landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The crew’s 11:45 p.m. CST Monday wake-up call was the Spamalot rendition of “Always Look on the Bright Side” played for STS-122 Commander Steve Frick.

The crew is expected to begin routine de-orbit preparations and cabin stowage at 2:45 a.m. Then, at 4:10 a.m., Frick, Pilot Alan Poindexter and Mission Specialist Rex Walheim will power up an auxiliary power unit to check out the orbiter’s flight control surfaces. At 5:20 a.m. they will start a test firing of each of the shuttle’s reaction control system jets.

Late Monday afternoon, the heaters on Atlantis’ four aft vernier engines, part of the reaction control system, failed. Those jets, located near the Orbiter Maneuvering System pods, are the small attitude control jets used to tweak a shuttle’s position in orbit and are not used during de-orbit maneuvers.

The shuttle astronauts will take a break from packing at 7:35 a.m. to talk about the flight with ABC News, CNN and WRIC-TV in Richmond, Va., near the home of Mission Specialist Leland Melvin.

At 12:15 p.m. Walheim and returning Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Dan Tani will set up a recumbent seat on the middeck for Tani to use during entry and landing. Melvin and Mission Specialist Hans Schlegel will stow the Ku-band communications antenna at 12:35 p.m.

The International Space Station’s crew is enjoying a day off-duty before starting a heavy schedule. They are preparing for the delivery of the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency’s multi-armed dexterous robotic system, Dextre, on the STS-123 mission targeted for launch March 11.

Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday at 8:07 a.m. The weather forecast is favorable. Today the crew is scheduled to go to sleep at 3:45 p.m. and awaken at 11:45 p.m.

The next STS-122 status report will be issued this afternoon or earlier if events warrant.


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