On Thursday, December 4, 1997, 6:00 a.m. CST, STS-87 MCC Status Report # 30
Columbia's aerosurfaces and thruster jets were tested this morning as
part of the routine day-before-landing systems checks to ensure the
vehicle is ready to support tomorrows planned return home to the
Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Two landing opportunities are
available at 6:20 a.m. and 7:55 a.m.
With weather conditions in Florida forecast to be favorable
tomorrow, the backup landing site in California is not being called up
While the flight control system checkout and reaction control system
hotfire tests showed a healthy spacecraft crew members stowed gear and
equipment used throughout the flight.
The Ku-band antenna which provides high data rate relay and
television will be stowed at approximately 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
On Thursday, December 4, 1997, 10:00 p.m. CST, STS-87 MCC Status Report # 31
The six astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Columbia were awakened at
8:46 p.m. tonight to make final preparations for their return to Earth
early Friday morning.
Two opportunities exist for a Kennedy Space Center.landing on
Friday. The first calls for firing the Orbital Maneuvering System
engines on orbit 251 at 5:21 a.m. CST followed by a landing on runway
33 at 6:20 a.m. This entry path will take Columbia across northern
Mexico and southern Texas, the northern Gulf of Mexico and north
The second landing opportunity Friday has deorbit ignition at 6:56
a.m. with landing at 7:55 a.m. Central time. Columbias grountrack on
this approach crosses the Texas Big Bend and central Texas, southern
Louisiana and New Orleans, and completing its track to Florida over
the northern Gulf of Mexico just south of the coast line.
With weather conditions in Florida forecast to be favorable, the
backup landing site in California is not being called up for support.
With a nominal landing on the first opportunity, crew return to
Houston is expected at 7 p.m. Friday at Ellington Field.
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