The astronauts will officially move into their deorbit preparations
timeline at 11:30 a.m., close the cargo bay doors at about 12:50 p.m.,
get into their launch and entry suits shortly after 2 p.m. and strap
into their seats about 2:30 p.m. Entry Flight Director John Shannon is
expected to poll the flight control team for a final."go-no go"
decision on the deorbit burn 20 minutes prior to the planned firing of
Endeavour's orbital maneuvering system engines at 3:28 p.m.
Forecasters for the Spaceflight Meteorology Group in Houston
reported early this morning that the shuttle should land under clear
skies today, but failing that will have equally favorable weather
Sunday. Mission managers have elected to not call up support at
Edwards Air Force Base in California today.
Endeavour is orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of
about 240 statute miles with all of its systems working well.
Aboard Mir, Commander Anatoly Solovyev, Flight Engineer Pavel
Vinogradov and U.S. Astronaut Andy Thomas are awaiting the arrival of
a Soyuz TM-27 spacecraft carrying Mir 25 Commander Talgat Musabayev,
Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and French researcher Leopold
Eyharts. The Soyuz is scheduled to dock with the Russian outpost at
12:13 p.m. CST today. Hatch opening is scheduled for 1:43
p.m. Musabayev and Budarin will replace Solovyev and Vinogradov, who
will return to Earth on Feb.19 with Eyharts. Thomas will spend the
rest of his four-month research mission with Musabayev and Budarin,
who will remain on Mir until August.
The next STS-89 status report will be issued post-landing, or at 6
a.m. CST today.
The shuttle Endeavour swooped out of a late afternoon sky and glided
to a smooth landing at the Kennedy Space Center.to wrap up a nine-day,
3.6 million mile mission to deliver the final U.S. astronaut to the
Russian Mir Space Station.
Commander Terry Wilcutt piloted Endeavour to an on-time touchdown on
runway 1-5 at the Florida spaceport's 3-mile long landing strip at
4:35 p.m. Central time, less than a half hour before sunset. Aboard
Endeavour down on the middeck was astronautDave Wolf, who returned to
Earth after 128 days in space, 119 of which were served as a
crewmember aboard Mir. It was the 13th consecutive shuttle landing at
KSC and the 20th in the last 21 missions.
Left behind on the orbiting Russian outpost is astronaut Andy
Thomas, who is starting his four-month research mission as the final
American to live and work on the 12-year old station. Earlier today,
Thomas and his Mir 24 crewmates, Commander Anatoly Solovyev and Flight
Engineer Pavel Vinogradov, greeted a new crew of cosmonauts following
the successful docking of a Soyuz TM-27 craft with the station. Mir 25
Commander Talgat Musabayev guided the Soyuz to a soft docking with the
outpost at 11:55 a.m. Central time following a two-day trip to the Mir
since launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Thursday. An hour and a
half later, hatches were opened between the Soyuz and the Mir and
Musabayev, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and French research Leopold
Eyharts were greeted by the resident crewmembers on the Mir.
Musabayev and Budarin will now conduct a three-week handover with
Solovyev and Budarin while Eyharts and Thomas press ahead with their
scientific experiments. Eyharts will return to Earth February 19 with
Solovyev and Vinogradov.
The astronauts are scheduled to spend the night at the Kennedy Space
Center before flying back to Houston Sunday afternoon. Crew return at
Ellington Field is scheduled for about 5:30 to 6 p.m. Central time