5 a.m. CDT Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas
STS-134 MCC Status Report #31
HOUSTON – Endeavour astronauts spent much of their day getting ready for their return to Earth. Their first landing opportunity is Wednesday at 1:35 a.m. CDT at Kennedy Space Center.

Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialist Roberto Vittori powered up and checked out the flight control system, testing the flaps and rudder that will control Endeavour’s flight once it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. Next they test fired the reaction system thrusters that control the shuttle’s attitude before it reaches the atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff stowed items in the cabin for re-entry. Each crew member got about an hour’s exercise.

After lunch, the astronauts did a 15-minute vision exam, and all gathered for a 30-minute deorbit briefing. Kelly and Johnson spent about 30 minutes with the RAMBO 2 (Ram Burn Observations) experiment, firing an orbital maneuvering system engine. The experiment is aimed at better understanding spacecraft engine plumes.

Among the first activities of the day for all crew members was a chat with representatives of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News and Fox News Radio. Later they sent down a tribute to Endeavour, nearing the end of its last flight.

Near the end of their day, Fincke and Vittori were scheduled to stow the high-data-rate Ku-band antenna. The band carries the television signal, so that activity ends live TV downlink from Endeavour.

The crew is to begin its sleep period at 8:56 a.m. The next status report will be issued after the crew’s wakeup call, scheduled for 4:56 p.m., or earlier if warranted.

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