Space Shuttle Atlantis and its five member crew will remain in orbit
one additional day following the wave-off of two landing opportunities
at Kennedy Space Center.today. Weather for both landing opportunities
was too dynamic to assure flight controllers that it would be
acceptable one hour after having to commit to an entry. Early morning
fog obscured the landing site on the first opportunity when the
decision had to be made and apparently increasing low clouds made the
second landing try too uncertain for comfort.
Atlantis has five landing opportunities for a return home on Sunday,
two at KSC and three at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Weather
forecasters and flight controllers will examine expected conditions
for each of those times to determine whether all are usable. The
first available time is for a 4:47 a.m. CST deorbit burn on orbit 143
with a 6 a.m. landing at Kennedy Space Center. The second and final
KSC opportunity is a 6:33 a.m. CST deorbit burn and a 7:29 CST
The three Edwards opportunities are: an orbit 144 deorbit burn at 6:25
a.m. with a 7:29 a.m. landing; an orbit 145 deorbit at 8:02
a.m. landing at 9:06; and an orbit 146 engine firing at 9:38
a.m. landing at 10:42 a.m. All times are Central.
Following the wave-off, astronauts were told they could begin backing
out of their deorbit readiness condition, reconfiguring orbiter
systems, opening the payload bay doors and getting out of their suits.
During the stand-down from entry preparations as the astronauts were
opening the payload doors, there was brief concern when microswitches
which show the position of a set of door centerline latches indicated
that they were not fully open, halting the door opening process. Open
doors are required to allow the shuttle's radiators to provide
Astronaut Linda Godwin visually compared the latch position with
drawings and described them as appearing to be fully open. Flight
controllers asked the crew to operate switches which manually open the
remaining latches along the starboard door. Once that was done and the
door appeared to open freely, the full door opening process continued
without additional delay.
The crew will spend the day conducting Earth observations photography
and keeping the orbiter ready for entry.
Weather conditions Sunday at KSC are potentially the same or worse
than Saturday. Weather at Edwards Air Force Base is predicted to be
acceptable on Sunday.
Go to STS-76 Flight Day 10 Highlights: