[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]


Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Atlantis touchdown: 10:45 a.m. Friday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Astronauts from the space shuttle Atlantis
prepared today to return home after wrapping up a multimillion-dollar
construction job on the International Space Station. 

Atlantis is set to touch down at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at
about 10:45 a.m. CDT on Friday. 

Shuttle commander Jeffrey Ashby, a U.S. Navy captain, and pilot Pamela
Melroy, A U.S. Air Force colonel, test fired the rockets that will slow
the shuttle's orbital speed enough for it to drop out of orbit somewhere
over the Indian Ocean. 

The other members of the six- astronaut crew -- Sandra Magnus, David
Wolf, British-born Piers Sellers and Russian Fyodor Yurchikhin -- stowed
gear, cinched straps and generally prepared the crew cabin for the rough
ride through the atmosphere. 

Autumn weather has reached much of the southeastern United States since
Atlantis was launched on Oct. 7 and Mission Control gave Ashby a report
on conditions in Houston, where most of the crew live. 

"Just to make you jealous, it's in the 50s here in Houston, and the
weather is absolutely gorgeous, the air is dry," said Mission Control. 

"It's pretty dry up here, too," said Ashby, who was, of course, flying
through a near vacuum. 

The ground also reported equally good weather at Cape Canaveral for the
landing, so no preparations were being made to activate the back-up
landing strip at Edwards Air Force Base in California. 

"Sounds like a real good day to come home tomorrow," said Ashby. 

The Atlantis crew delivered a new 45-foot truss segment to the orbiting
space station, joining the three astronauts living there for a week of
joint operations as they installed the $390 million piece. 

The space station crew -- two Russians and an American -- were preparing
for their next scheduled visitors, a Russian "taxi crew" bringing them a
new Soyuz spacecraft to be left behind as a lifeboat. 

The taxi crew was to be launched Oct. 28, but that may be in doubt after
the explosion on Wednesday of an unmanned Soyuz rocket seconds after
liftoff from Russia's Arctic cosmodrome in Plesetsk. 

NASA has said it will not comment on how the explosion, which killed one
soldier on the ground, will affect the space station program until the
Russians have finished their investigations. 

On Wednesday, a Russian space official promised that Russia would meet
its commitments, but did not say whether the Soyuz mission will launch on

The Russians are contractually obligated to fly two Soyuz missions and
four unmanned Progress cargo flights to the station per year. 

The space station is a partnership of NASA and space agencies in Russia,
Canada, Europe and Japan. Completion of the basic structure is scheduled
for 2004. 

Juno offers FREE or PREMIUM Internet access for less!
Join Juno today!  For your FREE software, visit:
Via the sarex mailing list at AMSAT.ORG courtesy of AMSAT-NA.
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe sarex" to Majordomo@amsat.org