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STS-108 Mission Status Report #23


STS-108   Report # 23 
 Sunday, Dec. 16, 2001 - 4 p.m. CST 
 On board Endeavour today, the crew focused its efforts on checking out
the systems and equipment that will be used during Endeavour’s planned
reentry and landing Monday. 

Endeavour is scheduled to return to the Kennedy Space Center, FL, about
11:55 a.m. CST Monday, weather permitting.  Preliminary weather forecasts
predict generally acceptable conditions at the landing site, with a
chance of rain showers in the vicinity.  Entry Flight Director Leroy Cain
and his team of flight controllers coordinated the crew’s checkout of
flight control systems and surfaces this morning from Mission Control. 

Endeavour’s crew deployed a small satellite called STARSHINE 2 from a
canister located in the payload bay at about 9 a.m. CST today. More than
30,000 students from 660 schools in 26 countries will track STARSHINE 2
as it orbits the Earth for eight months. The students, who helped polish
STARSHINE’S 845 mirrors, will use the information they collect to
calculate the density of the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Endeavour’s middeck will carry home the results of several experiments
completed during Expedition Three on the International Space Station.
These include the Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility, the
Dynamically Controlled Protein Crystal Growth experiment and cells from
the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System (CBOSS). The CBOSS
equipment aboard the space station will remain active during Expedition
Four, growing ovarian and colon cancer cells, as well as kidney cells in

Endeavour's activities are geared toward a landing at the Kennedy Space
Center on Monday. Although opportunities exist, flight controllers do not
plan to consider a landing by Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base, CA,
Monday. The primary KSC landing opportunity Monday would begin with a
shuttle engine firing at 10:50 a.m. CST leading to the 11:55 a.m. CST
touchdown. A second opportunity to land at KSC also is available on
Monday, beginning with an engine firing at 12:28 p.m. CST that would lead
to a 1:32 p.m. CST touchdown at KSC.

The Johnson Space Center newsroom will open at 5 a.m. CST Monday, and the
next Mission Control status report will be issued at about 6 a.m. CST
Monday or as events warrant.

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