Landing Coverage

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Welcome to NASA's STS-123 Landing Blog
Endeavour and its crew landed safely at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on March 26, 2008 at 8:39 p.m. EDT, concluding a nearly 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

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Video highlights from landing were selected from televised coverage provided by NASA TV.
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Here are some official landing times for Endeavour's landing concluding the STS-123 mission:

Main gear touchdown took place at 8:39:08 p.m. EDT at a mission elapsed time of 15 days, 18 hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds.

Nose gear touchdown at 8:39:17 p.m. EDT at a mission elapsed time of 15 days, 18 hours, 11 minutes and 03 seconds.

Endeavour's wheels stopped on the runway at 8:40:41 p.m. EDT at a mission elapsed time of 15 days, 18 hours, 12 minutes and 27 seconds.

Endeavour and the STS-123 crew traveled 6,577,800 miles during this mission and landed on the 250th orbit.

10:05 p.m. - The Endeavour crew has boarded the van that will take them back to the Operations and Checkout Building.

10:04 p.m. - The weather is pleasant and in the mid-60s with no rain in the forecast while Endeavour is on the runway waiting to be towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility.

9:54 p.m. - The crew members are being welcomed by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, Deputy Administrator Shana Dale, Kennedy Space Center Director Bill Parsons, Launch Director Mike Leinbach and other NASA and Japanese officials.

9:51 p.m. - The stairs are down on the crew transport vehicle and the astronauts have emerged.

Some of the crew members are taking a walk around the orbiter for one last look at the vehicle.

9:45 p.m. - NASA's Astrovan will be arriving at the landing facility. The vehicle will carry the STS-123 mission team back to the crew quarters, where they suited up for this eventful mission more than 15 days ago. There they will undergo a complete medical exam and be reunited with their immediate family members.

9:35 p.m. - Endeavour's crew hatch has been opened. The astronauts have left the orbiter and entered the crew transport vehicle or CTV. The CTV contains beds and comfortable seats so that the astronauts can receive a brief medical checkup before stepping onto the tarmac.

9:32 p.m. - The final steps in 'safing' the vehicle are being completed.

9:15 p.m. - The recovery operations convoy has arrived. When the vehicle is considered safe from all potential hazards and free of toxic gases, the purge and coolant umbilical access vehicle will move into position at the rear of the orbiter.

Following purge and cooling system connections, the crew transport vehicle moves into position adjacent to the orbiter access hatch on Endeavour's port side.

9:01 p.m. - It's been a little over 20 minutes since Endeavour and its crew touched down at Kennedy Space Center. The landing convoy will be gathering around the vehicle to work on "safing" procedures.

8:58 p.m. - The orbiter's hydraulic systems are being shut down.

8:50 p.m. - Work to safely shut down Endeavour's systems is continuing.

8:45 p.m. - The Endeavour crew returned to Earth after about 16 days in space including a record-breaking 12 days at the International Space Station. The mission concluded on its 250th orbit.

8:42 p.m. - The crew will now work through a checklist for shutting down the orbiter and "safing" the vehicle.

8:39 p.m. - Main gear is down and locked … Main gear touchdown... Nose gear touchdown ...

Touchdown! Endeavour has safely landed with its crew of seven astronauts at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The drag chute is deployed ...

Endeavour's wheels have come to a stop. Welcome home, Endeavour, after completing a journey of more than 6,578,000 million miles!

8:37 p.m. - Twin sonic booms were just heard at the Kennedy Space Center -- the orbiter is making its final approach.

Having served its purpose, Endeavour's reaction control system has been turned off.

Commander Gorie is now controlling Endeavour, and he has Runway 15 in sight.

8:34 p.m. - During reentry and landing, the orbiter is not powered by engines and flies like a high-tech glider, relying first on its steering jets and then its wings and elevons to control the airflow around it.

8:30 p.m. - Endeavour is crossing the peninsula of Florida about 120 miles from the Kennedy Space Center, traveling at 2,200 miles per hour.

8:29 p.m. - 10 minutes to landing.

8:26 p.m. - The MILA Tracking Station has acquired Endeavour's signal.

8:22 p.m. - Mission control reports that all systems are in good shape. Landing is less than 17 minutes away.

The first roll reversal to slow the orbiter down has been accomplished.

8:19 p.m. - Endeavour is traveling at 14,700 miles per hour at an altitude of 231,000 feet. Communication with the orbiter has been reestablished.

8:17 p.m. - The Endeavour crew now is maneuvering the shuttle to the best position for landing on Runway 15 at Kennedy. The orbiter is less than 23 minutes from touchdown.

8:13 p.m. - The shuttle is traveling at about 17,000 miles per hour and at an altitude of 259,000 feet.

8:11 p.m. - Endeavour is at an altitude of 315,00 feet and will soon experience a loss of signal for about 9 minutes.

8:08 p.m. - The MILA Tracking Station at NASA's Kennedy Space Center acquires Endeavour about 13 minutes before landing and begins supplying controllers in Houston with voice, data and telemetry communications starting about one minute later.

8:02 p.m. - The orbiter will perform a series of roll maneuvers, banking first to the right and then to the left to help slow its speed as it descends toward landing. Early in this segment of reentry, the orbiter's orientation is controlled by the aft steering jets.

7:58 p.m. - Endeavour is approaching entry interface, which usually takes place at an altitude of about 76 miles and more than 5,000 miles from NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

At this point in the landing phase, the orbiter begins to feel the first effects of the Earth's atmosphere.

7:50 p.m. - After more than two weeks in space, and the record-making mission to the International Space Station, Endeavour and the crew are headed home.

7:47 p.m. - At Kennedy Space Center, the convoy of landing support vehicles is moving to a staging point at the Shuttle Landing Facility.

7:44 p.m. - The shuttle's reentry into the atmosphere will happen in about 23 minutes.

7:42 p.m. - Endeavour will perform a series of roll maneuvers as it enters the atmosphere, banking first to the right and then to the left to help slow down its speed as it descends for a landing.

7:36 p.m. - The deorbit went smoothly and the orbiter will now be reoriented into a nose-forward position in anticipation of reentry.

7:33 p.m. - Deorbit burn! The orbiter was turned around so its tail is in the direction of travel.

7:32 p.m. - Endeavour's auxiliary power units are up and running. The units provide hydraulic power to the orbiter's aerosurfaces, such as wing flaps and tail rudder.

7:30 p.m. - Endeavour is less than 3 minutes from deorbit burn.

7:28 p.m. - The deorbit burn will slow Endeavour by about 200 mph, causing it to fall out of orbit and begin the descent for landing.

7:24 p.m. - Endeavour was given the "go" for landing. Deorbit burn will take place at 7:33 p.m.

7:22 p.m. - Capcam Jim Dutton asked Commander Gorie about his thoughts on the weather conditions and Gorie said he was comfortable landing on the second opportunity because the crew had practiced for such landings.

7:18 p.m. - A final decision whether to land will be made by Flight Director Richard Jones from the information provided by astronaut Brent Jett and meteorologists. Jones is looking for the 'trends' of the cloud thickness at time of landing.

7:10 p.m. - With 23 minutes to go before deorbit burn, Capcom Jim Dutton advised the Endeavour crew the weather is still being monitored and no decisions have been made.

7:01 p.m. - Mission control is going through a complete landing checklist with Commander Dom Gorie.

6:55 p.m. - There is less than 40 minutes to the deorbit burn. Monitoring of the cloud cover over and around Kennedy Space Center will continue.

6:49 p.m. - The latest weather report from astronaut Brent Jett in the Shuttle Training Aircraft is that the clouds seem to be thinning over the coastline. If the trend continues, Endeavour's second landing opportunity will remain on-time at 8:39 p.m. EDT.

6:40 p.m. - A two-minute, 45-second burn of the shuttle's twin orbital maneuvering system engines will drop the vehicle out of orbit over the Pacific Ocean.

6:34 p.m. - Mission control has given the astronauts the go-ahead for fluid loading. The forecast for the second landing opportunity remains undecided, Capcom Jim Dutton told Endeavour Commander Dom Gorie.

6:29 p.m. - Endeavour's night landing will be the 22nd in space shuttle history, the previous being the conclusion of the STS-115 mission on Sept. 21, 2006.

6:22 p.m. - The shuttle crew continue to go through their landing checks for preparations for the deorbit burn now scheduled for 7:33 p.m. with a 8:39 p.m. landing, one hour after local sunset.

6:10 p.m. - Shuttle Endeavour is in its 248th orbit in space, heading for the northwest coast of Australia.

6:05 p.m. - Endeavour will be using Orbit 249 for the second landing opportunity.

5:59 p.m. - The STS-123 astronauts delivered Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman to the station replacing European Space Agency astronaut Léopold Eyharts. Eyharts is returning to Earth with the Endeavour crew.

5:50 p.m. - The cloud cover is expected to dissipate prior to the next deorbit burn opportunity at 7:33 p.m. EDT. Brent Jett is continuing to monitor the skies in the Shuttle Training Aircraft.

5:45 p.m. - STS-123 is the 122nd shuttle mission and 25th mission to the International Space Station.

5:38 p.m. - If Endeavour lands on the second opportunity it will be the 16th night landing at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility.

5:33 p.m. - The weather conditions for the second landing opportunity at 8:39 p.m. EDT seem to be more favorable.

5:30 p.m. - Mission control has given shuttle Endeavour a "no-go" for deorbit burn for the first landing opportunity. "The weather trend did not improve as we had hoped," Capcom Jim Dutton told the Endeavour's crew.

5:28 p.m. - The "go/no-go" decision on the deorbit burn is coming up.

5:22 p.m. - The crew was given the "go" for the first auxiliary power unit prestart. These units, also known as APUs, propel pumps used to power Endeavour's hydraulic systems.

5:18 p.m. - Another weather check will be taken by Jett and he will report to the flight director his observations on whether Endeavour will be able to land on the first opportunity at 7:05 p.m. EDT.

5:10 p.m. - Capcom Jim Dutton radioed Endeavour Commander Dom Gorie that current conditions are not favorable but that does not necessarily apply to the forecast at landing time.

5:06 p.m. - Astronaut Brent Jett is flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft to evaluate weather conditions the shuttle would experience when landing. Jett commanded the STS-115 mission in Sept. 2006.

5 p.m. - Welcome to the coverage of the landing of space shuttle Endeavour -- coming to you from the News Center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The orbiter is set to land today after an ambitious and successful mission to the International Space Station.

Before coverage began, mission control gave Endeavour's crew the go-ahead to close the 60-foot-long payload bay doors in preparation for landing.

Mission control also gave the crew a "go" for "Ops 3." This action transitions the software to the vehicle's onboard computer that is used for entry and landing.

There are two landing opportunities at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility today, the first at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the second at 8:36 p.m. Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and White Sands Space Harbor, N.M., the shuttle's backup sites for landing, will not be activated today.

The forecast for both landing opportunities at Kennedy is favorable. Crosswinds are well within landing limits. Astronaut Steve Lindsey has been in the skies flying a T-38 jet monitoring the weather and relaying the information back to mission control in Houston. Meanwhile, in space, the astronauts aboard Endeavour donned their orange launch-and-entry suits and then took their assigned seats for reentry.

The astronauts have begun fluid loading, which means they will drink large amounts of liquid to aid them in their re-acclimation into Earth's gravity. Each crew member will drink about 40 ounces of water, chicken broth or orange-aid.

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