NASA mission managers continue to be pleased with Columbia's on orbit performance as it approaches the conclusion of the STS-87 mission. Tomorrow the Shuttle flight crew will begin preparations for their return home.
Weather forecasters expect generally favorable weather conditions at KSC to support Shuttle landing operations on Friday morning. As a cold front pushes through the KSC area on Thursday night, clouds will clear resulting in only scattered low clouds at landing time with surface winds out of the north west at 12 knots, gusting to 16 knots.
The two landing opportunities at KSC are at 7:23 a.m. and 8:58 a.m. EST. Edwards Air Force Base, CA, provides a single backup opportunity at 10:25 a.m. EST.
NOTE: Camera alignment work is complete and payload bay cleaning efforts are under way. Payload bay door closure occurs tonight. Tomorrow, Endeavour will undergo preparations for transfer to the Vehicle Assembly Building early Sunday morning. The STS-89 external tank and solid rocket booster stack await the orbiter's arrival in VAB hi-bay 1.
STS-89 SCHEDULED OPERATIONAL MILESTONES (dates are target only):
NOTE: Discovery's "chin panel" has been reinstalled beneath the orbiter's nose following recent fit checks. Fuel cell monitoring modifications proceed in Discovery's midbody. Checks of the orbiter's water spray boiler and orbiter maneuvering system functional testing continue. Next week, fuel cell No. 2 is slated for replacement and window No. 8 will also be replaced.
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