Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shuttle Endeavour scheduled to land on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010

On Sunday, February 21, 2010, you may see a bright light pulling a comet-like tail, headed West to East and low on the Southern horizon.  Not to worry, it's the Space Shuttle 'Endeavour' (STS-130), on it's gliding flight back home to Kennedy Space Center.

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER - NASA will try to get space shuttle Endeavour back home Sunday night, but the weather may not cooperate on both sides of the country.

The shuttle’s first landing attempt is 10:16 p.m.EST, on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at the Kennedy Space Center.

Final preparations are under way for landing, but mission managers said low clouds and showers could keep Endeavour from touching down in Central Florida.  Edwards Air Force Base is the next option, but the forecast there also predicts clouds and rain Sunday night.

Endeavour Landing Opportunities (Eastern Standard Time) are as follows:

   1. Kennedy, 10:20 p.m. Sunday
   2. Kennedy, 11:55 p.m. Sunday
   3. Edwards, 1:25 a.m. Monday
   4. Edwards, 3 a.m. Monday

Mission managers said the shuttle may end up spending another day in orbit, but a final decision on landing will not come until later Sunday night.

“We’re really not going to know until we get down to the wire tomorrow,” said flight director Norm Knight. “I anticipate about an hour before the deorbit burn, we’ll make a decision on what we’re going to do.”

NASA said the forecast at the Kennedy Space Center gets even worse for a landing attempt Monday night, but the weather in California is expected to be much better.

A third landing site is available in White Sands, New Mexico, but NASA only plans to use it as a last resort, due to a lack of equipment and facilities at that installation.  There was only one mission that ended with a landing at White Sands was STS-3, when space shuttle Columbia touched down there on March 30, 1982.

Mission managers said they will not consider a landing in New Mexico Sunday night, but it could be an option Monday.  NASA prefers Florida landings, because the cross-country ferry trip from California eats up $1.7 million and more than a week.

The shuttle flight path will cross the Gulf Coast, to the Space Coast.

If weather permits and you want to view the shuttle as it crosses over Texas, please check out the list of times these viewing opportunities may occur in your area.

For viewing opportunities in Texas.
All other states.
All other countries.

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Endeavour Landing Times Updated
Space Shuttle Mission: STS-130
Sat, 20 Feb 2010 10:19:19 PM CST

STS-130 mission managers opted to forego a planned orbit adjust burn, changing space shuttle Endeavour's deorbit and landing times by a few minutes.

Weather permitting, Endeavour's deorbit burn will occur at 9:14 p.m. EST Sunday, leading to a landing at Kennedy Space Center at 10:20 p.m. There is a second Kennedy landing opportunity at 11:55 p.m. There also are two opportunities at Edwards Air Force Base in California early Monday at 1:25 a.m. and 3 a.m. Ground tracks for Endeavour's landing opportunities are posted on NASA's Web:

Forecasters are predicting a chance of showers within 30 nautical miles of Kennedy's shuttle landing facility and a cloud ceiling at 6,000 feet, both violations of landing flight rules. The forecast for Edwards also predicts violations for showers within 30 nautical miles of the runway and low cloud ceilings.

Earlier Saturday, Endeavour's astronauts completed the standard day-before-entry checkout of the shuttle's flight control systems and reaction control system jets.


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