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STS-108 Mission Status Report #24



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC

STS-108   Report # 24 
 Monday, Dec. 17, 2001 – 6 a.m. CST 
 
 Endeavour’s crew began a journey home today, waking up at 3:19 a.m. CST
to “Please Come Home For Christmas” sung by Jon Bon Jovi.  Weather
permitting, Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth just before noon
today.
 
On board Endeavour, Commander Dom Gorie, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission
Specialists Linda Godwin and Dan Tani, along with the returning
Expedition Three crew of Frank Culbertson, Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail
Tyurin, are preparing for a scheduled landing at the Kennedy Space
Center.   Preliminary weather forecasts predict generally acceptable
conditions at the landing site, with a possibility of rain showers in the
vicinity.  The Entry flight team, led by Flight Director Leroy Cain, will
receive its first weather briefing of the day at 6:30 a.m.

The first KSC landing opportunity today would begin with a deorbit burn
of Endeavour’s large orbital maneuvering engines at 10:50 a.m. resulting
in an 11:55 a.m. central time (12:55 p.m. eastern) landing. If weather
precludes landing on that first opportunity, there is a second
opportunity, one orbit later, with an engine firing at 12:28 p.m.
resulting in a 1:32 p.m. central (2:32 p.m. eastern) touchdown.   The
alternate landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California has not
been called up for launch support today.

Just before 7 a.m., the crew will begin its formal deorbit preparations
and by 8:10 a.m., Endeavour’s payload bay doors should be closed in
preparation for reentry.  The crewmembers will begin climbing into their
seats at 9:50 a.m., with a final “go, no go” call from the Entry Flight
Director expected about 10:30 a.m.   A landing today in Florida would
conclude a voyage of more than 4.8 million miles for Endeavour and a
129-day stay in orbit for Culbertson, Dezhurov and Tyurin.  

The next Mission Control status report will be issued following today’s
landing or as events warrant.
                             END



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