With promising weather forecast for the Kennedy Space Center.
preparations are under way to bring the seven-member crew of Discovery
home following a successful mission to refurbish and repair the Hubble
The crew's day began with a wake-up call from Mission Control, "The
Cup of Life," sung by Ricky Martin. The music was the official song of
France '98 World Cup Soccer and was played for Mission Specialist #2,
Jean-Francois Clervoy of the European Space Agency at the request of
Entry Flight Director Wayne Hale and his team of flight controllers
have three attempts to bring Discovery home to Florida today. The
first opportunity would see a firing of the Shuttle's large orbital
maneuvering system engines at 3:06 p.m. to drop Discovery out of orbit
and begin its high speed reentry toward Earth. Landing would occur at
4:18 p.m. Central time (5:18 p.m. EST).
The second opportunity would see a deorbit burn at 4:48 p.m.,
resulting in a landing at 6:01 p.m. Central time (7:01 p.m. EST). The
final opportunity for the day would have the deorbit burn occurring at
6:31 p.m. with landing to follow at 7:43 p.m. Central (8:43
p.m. EST). If Discovery lands on either of the last two opportunities,
Commander Curt Brown and his crew would make the 13th night landing in
Shuttle program history.
The entry flight controllers will be receiving updated weather
forecasts throughout the day, however the initial prediction is for
favorable weather with a few high level clouds. Earlier predictions
of cross winds at or near acceptable limits appear to be trending in a
positive direction. Weather at the alternate landing site at NASA's
Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California also is predicted
to be very good today although KSC is the prime landing site for
The seven astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Discovery glided to a
smooth landing at the Kennedy Space Center. wrapping up their
eight-day mission to refurbish and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
After waving off the first landing opportunity of the day because of
a concern with cross winds at the landing site, the crew was given a
"go" to perform the deorbit burn which came at 4:48 p.m. CST
and caused Discovery to fall out of it's 380 statute mile high orbit
to start the journey home to the Kennedy Space Center.
With Commander Curt Brown at the controls, Discovery touched down at
6:01 p.m CST on Runway 33 at the three mile long Shuttle Landing
Facility runway at KSC to complete a mission spanning almost 3.3
million miles. Pilot Scott Kelly, Flight Engineer Jean-Francois
Clervoy and Mission Specialist Michael Foale joined Brown on the
flight deck for entry and landing. Mission Specialists Steve Smith,
John Grunsfeld and Claude Nicollier were seated down in the middeck.
The end of the STS-103 mission marked the 20th consecutive landing at
the Florida spaceport and the 13th night landing in the history of the
Left behind in orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope now features six
new gyroscopes, six new voltage/temperature improvement kits, a new
onboard computer, a new solid state recorder and new data transmitter,
a new fine guidance sensor along with new insulation on parts of the
The STS-103 crew will spend the evening in Florida before returning
to Houston on Tuesday. The crew is expected to leave Patrick Air
Force Base in Cocoa Beach, FL at approximately 1:30 p.m. CST. The
crew should land at Ellington Field at about 5 p.m. where the seven
astronauts will be greeted by JSC management and center employees. The
crew return ceremony will occur at Hangar 990 and is open to the
Further updates on the time of the crew return ceremony can be
obtained by calling the JSC newsroom at 281/483-5111 on Tuesday
afternoon after 2 p.m.