NOTE: On board Shuttle Discovery, the flight crew will conclude their research activities today and begin preparations for tomorrow's landing at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility. Because forecasters expect Sunday's weather to deteriorate somewhat, mission managers have decided to bring up backup landing support at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, on Saturday.
There are two landing opportunities at both KSC and Edwards tomorrow. KSC's first opportunity is at about 12:04 p.m. and the second opportunity is at about 1:45 p.m. The Edwards opportunities are at about 1:35 p.m. and 3:17 p.m. Commander Brown will perform a deorbit burn of the orbiter maneuvering system about one hour prior to touch down.
Preliminary forecasts indicate generally favorable weather to support Saturday's landing at KSC. Winds are expected out of the northeast at about 10 knots, gusting to 15 knots. Forecasters do not expect sustained crosswinds at the SLF to exceed 14 knots. Clouds are forecast to be scattered at 4,000 feet; visibility at 7 miles; temperature at 70 degrees F; and relative humidity at 60 percent.
Though Shuttle managers do not expect to execute them, precautionary plans are in place to accommodate a deployment of Discovery's drag chute during reentry or after wheels stop at the SLF. The Shuttle Training Aircraft that performs routine weather observations prior to landing and during final approach will also visually monitor Discovery's drag chute compartment.
After touchdown, KSC ground controllers plan to proceed with normal post landing activities with a cone shaped safety clear extending 600 feet from Discovery's aft compartment. About 1 1/2 hours after landing, KSC workers will perform remote visual inspections of the pyrotechnic wires that initiate the mortar that jettisons the drag chute. If no heat or stress damage is visible, standard post flight operations will proceed culminating with the towing of Discovery to Orbiter Processing Facility bay 1 about 8 hours after landing. Currently, managers expect the pyrotechnic wire inspections to reveal no damage and plan to proceed with normal operations.
NOTE: At Launch Pad 39A, the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test concluded at about 11 a.m. today. Crew members successfully conducted a launch day dress rehearsal complete with an orbiter crew compartment ingress and simulated main engine cut-off at T-5 seconds. The crew then practiced emergency egress procedures assisted by the KSC close-out crew. The crew departs KSC today at about 2:15 p.m. headed for their homes in Houston, TX. Orbiter inertial measurement unit calibration occurs today and preparations for payload interface verification testing are in work. The Unity connecting module will be installed in the orbiter's cargo bay Nov. 13 .
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