5 a.m. CST Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-126 MCC Status Report #30
HOUSTON – Endeavour astronauts are beginning a day of preparations to return home.

The crew members, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Don Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Greg Chamitoff, were awakened at 3:55 a.m. CST by “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” It was played for Chamitoff.

Deorbit preparations include cabin stowage starting a little after 7 a.m.

Ferguson and Boe, with help from Bowen, will check out the flight control surfaces, including the rudder and the wing flaps at 9:40 a.m. Those surfaces will guide Endeavour’s unpowered flight through the atmosphere to a landing. Immediately afterwards, at 10:55 a.m., the astronauts will test fire reaction control system thrusters. The thrusters will control the shuttle’s orientation as it descends and begins its re-entry through the atmosphere.

That test will be followed by a 30-minute deorbit briefing for all crew members, beginning at 11:10 a.m.

All seven crew members will take a break at 11:40 a.m. to talk with news media representatives. During the 20 minute chat they’ll take questions from CNN, KRON-TV of San Francisco and KATU-TV of Portland, Ore.

Boe and Kimbrough will begin deployment of the small Pico Satellite Solar Cell Testbed at 2:35 p.m. They will release springs that will push the Defense Department’s Picosat into space from the cargo bay. It will orbit for several months to test new types of solar cells.

After setup on the mid-deck of a recumbent seat for Greg Chamitoff, returning after six months as a station crewmember, and stowage of the shuttle’s Ku-band antenna, the crew is scheduled to go to bed at 7:55 p.m. They’ll be awakened at 3:55 a.m. Sunday for their scheduled Kennedy Space Center landing. The first opportunity would have Endeavour touching down at 12:19 p.m. CST on Sunday.

The next shuttle status report will be issued at the end of the crew day, or earlier if events warrant.

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