STS-103 Day 7 Highlights
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- On Sunday, December 26, 1999, 8:00 a.m. CST, STS-103 MCC Status Report # 14
- With their primary mission objectives successfully completed,
Discovery's astronauts today begin preparing their spacecraft for its
scheduled return to Earth Monday, checking out the flight control
system and reaction control jets that support re-entry.
- The seven astronauts were awakened at 7:50 a.m. to the song "We're
So Good Together" by Reba McEntyre, played for Pilot Scott Kelly at
the request of his wife.
- This afternoon, Commander Curt Brown and Kelly will check out
Discovery's flight control systems and surfaces to support Monday's
planned return to the Kennedy Space Center. Later in the day, the
astronauts will begin stowing the equipment they've used during the
past week on orbit and start buttoning up Discovery's on-orbit
systems. The Ku-band antenna, which provides most of the capacity for
data and television relay, will be stowed around 8:45 p.m. today.
- As the STS-103 mission winds down, the newly refurbished Hubble
Space Telescope slowly moves through its checkout sequence prior to
resuming science operations. Discovery's four space-walking
astronauts spent 24 hours and 33 minutes upgrading and refurbishing
the orbiting observatory, making it more capable than ever to renew
its observations of the universe.
- Hubble was released from the end of Discovery's robot arm at 5:03
p.m. Christmas Day. Less than half an hour later, controllers at the
Space Telescope Operations Control Center in Maryland reported that
the telescope was in normal operating mode. Controllers will perform
two weeks of testing before observations resume. At 8 a.m. today,
Hubble was approximately 45 miles away from Discovery and separating
at the rate of about five miles per 90-minute orbit.
- Also on tap at 10:50 a.m. today is the crew in-flight press
conference with media at NASA Centers in the U.S. and reporters at
European Space Agency sites in Geneva and Paris.
- On Sunday, December 26, 1999, 10:00 p.m. CST, STS-103 MCC Status Report # 15
- Following the successful deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope
yesterday, the seven man crew aboard Space Shuttle Discovery turned
its attention today to preparing for the return to Kennedy Space
Center late tomorrow afternoon.
- STS-103 Commander Curt Brown, along with Pilot Scott Kelly, first
performed checks of the Flight Control System by activating one of the
three Auxiliary Power Units aboard Discovery to allow them to test the
various aerosurfaces that will be used to steer the Shuttle once it
has re-entered the atmosphere. The crew then did a check of the
Reaction Control System, the maneuvering jets that steer Discovery
while the Shuttle is in space. Both the FCS and RCS checkouts were
without issue, with all systems ready to support Discovery's return to
- The weather forecast for the two available landing sites is very
good for both a nominal end of mission as well as the two extension
days that are planned into every Shuttle flight. The prediction for
KSC on Monday is for only a few clouds at the upper levels and very
good visibility. The only possible concern is crosswinds that are
predicted to be near the peak of what is allowed at the
three-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC. Weather at the
alternate landing site at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in
Edwards, California also is predicted to be very good on Monday, with
only a few high clouds and light winds. The extended forecast for both
landing sites on Tuesday and Wednesday shows continued favorable
- At tonight's mission status briefing, Entry Flight Director Wayne
Hale said that given the very good forecast at both landing sites for
the next three days, the Shuttle team's current plan for Monday
afternoon would be to try for the first two landing opportunities at
KSC. If Discovery cannot land on one of those opportunities and the
weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday remains the same, Discovery
and her crew would be kept in orbit one additional day to try and
allow a KSC landing on Tuesday. Shuttle managers would like to land
at KSC if possible in order to avoid the work associated with
transporting an orbiter from California back to Florida.
- The first opportunity to land at KSC on Monday takes place on orbit
118 with a deorbit burn at 3:06 p.m. CST and a landing at KSC at 4:18
p.m. The second opportunity on orbit 119 would have a deorbit burn
taking place at 4:49 p.m. and a landing at KSC at 6:00 p.m. CST. A
third and final opportunity for a KSC landing is available on orbit
120 if needed. The third opportunity has a deorbit burn at 6:32
p.m. and landing at 7:43 p.m. CST.
- Should the extended weather forecast change, there are landing
opportunities at the Edwards site on the same three orbits, along with
an additional opportunity on orbit 121.
- The STS-103 crew will begin a planned eight-hour sleep period at
11:20 p.m. this evening. A wake-up call from Mission Control to begin
what should be their final day in space for this flight will come at
7:20 a.m. on Monday.
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