STS-99 Day 11 Highlights
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- On Monday, February 21, 2000, 10:30 a.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 21
- Endeavour's astronauts finished their successful Shuttle Radar
Topography Mission mapping operations early Monday, then retracted the
system's 200-foot mast into its payload bay canister. The mast, the
longest rigid structure ever deployed in space, supported the external
antenna structure during more than 222 hours of data gathering that
mapped almost 100 percent of all planned sites around the world.
- The mast folded smoothly into its nine-foot-long canister in
Endeavour's payload bay during the 18 minute retraction operation that
astronauts began at 7:17 a.m. Central Time. The crew flipped the
outboard antenna structure over to its stowed position, then began
retracting the mast itself. As each of the 86 bays of the mast entered
the canister, the bay's corners were captured in spiraling grooves
inside the canister, much like those in a rifle barrel.
- Completion of the final portion of stowing the SRTM mast was delayed
when the three latches on the lid of the mast canister failed to
engage as expected. Suspecting that the cold thermal temperatures the
mast experienced while deployed were reducing the flexibility of the
system, flight controllers had the astronauts work procedures to warm
up the mast canister while increasing the torque pull of the canister
motors. The efforts of Endeavour's crew and Mission Control were
rewarded at 9:50 a.m. Central time when all three latches on the mast
canister closed, securing the SRTM payload for the ride home to Earth.
- Radar data gathering concluded at 5:54 a.m. after a final sweep
across Australia. During 222 hours and 23 minutes of mapping,
Endeavour's radar images filled 332 high density tapes and covered
99.98 percent of the planned mapping area - land between 60 degrees
north latitude and 56 degrees south latitude - at least once and 94.6
percent of it twice. Only about 80,000 square miles in scattered areas
remained unimaged, most of them in North America and most already well
mapped by other methods. Enough data were gathered to fill the
equivalent of 20,000 CD's.
- The EarthKAM, a digital camera mounted at an overhead window on
Endeavour's flight deck, has been shut down for the remainder of the
flight, after sending to Earth about 2,600 digital images of the
planet's surface. On four previous shuttle flights EarthKAM sent down
a total of 2,018 images. Later today, Endeavour's crew will turn its
attention to returning home. Check out of the flight control surfaces
and orbiter thruster jets is scheduled to begin at noon. After the
orbiter systems checks are complete, the crew will begin stowing the
cabin for tomorrow's return to the Kennedy Space Center.with landing
scheduled for 3:50 p.m. Central Time Tuesday.
- On Monday, February 21, 2000, 6:00 p.m. CST, STS-99 MCC Status Report # 22
- With mapping operations complete and Endeavour's radar mapping
hardware stowed, astronauts today conducted checks of various flight
control surfaces and thruster jets in preparation for tomorrow's
return to Earth.
- After wrapping up mapping operations at 5:54 a.m. Central time today
with a final pass over Australia, Endeavour's crew retracted the
200-foot mast into its payload bay canister. The mast, the longest
rigid structure ever deployed in space, supported the Shuttle Radar
Topography Mission's external antenna structure during more than 222
hours of data gathering.
- Mast retraction proceeded smoothly as each of its 87 external
sections, or bays, folded into the nine-foot-long canister during the
18-minute retraction procedure. Final mast stowage was delayed when
the three latches on the lid of the mast canister failed to engage as
expected. The first two efforts failed to secure the latches, but the
third attempt succeeded and all three latches on the mast canister
were activated at 9:50 a.m. Central time.
- The SRTM mapped almost 100 percent of all planned sites around the
world, a total area of more than 47.6 million square miles. The area
mapped four times represents more than twice the area of the United
States. SRTM project scientist Dr. Mike Kobrick called SRTM "a truly
outstanding achievement." New images released today showed Fiji; the
San Francisco Bay area; Pasadena, CA; the San Andreas Fault near
Palmdale, CA; and an animated fly-around from Pasadena to Palmdale
along the San Andreas Fault.
- This afternoon, Commander Kevin Kregel, Pilot Dom Gorie and flight
engineer Janet Kavandi tested Endeavour's flight control surfaces and
reaction control system thrusters. Deactivation and stowage of radar
mapping hardware and the Ku antenna were completed, and members of the
Red Team - Kregel, Kavandi and Gerhard Thiele - began cabin
stowage. The Blue Team - Gorie, payload commander Janice Voss and
Japanese astronaut Mamoru Mohri - will complete stowage tomorrow
morning. The Blue Team began its sleep period at 5:44 p.m., and will
be awakened at 1:14 a.m. Tuesday.
- There are three landing opportunities available tomorrow, two at
Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the third at Edwards, CA. The first
opportunity would bring Endeavour back to KSC at 3:50
p.m. Central. There is another opportunity one orbit later, with a KSC
landing at 5:22 p.m. Central. The third opportunity would see
Endeavour land at Edwards at 6:48 p.m. Central time. The previous 20
shuttle missions have ended with landings at KSC. The last Edwards
landing was STS-76 in March 1996. The primary concerns for a KSC
landing are strong crosswinds and a low layer of clouds. Weather
conditions at KSC are not expected to improve Wednesday or Thursday,
and are expected to deteriorate at Edwards after Tuesday.
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