Status Report

Atlantis Scheduled to Land at KSC Completing Mission STS-98

By SpaceRef Editor
February 16, 2001
Filed under ,

The orbiter Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center on
Sunday, Feb. 18, at about 12:50 p.m. EST completing its 11-day STS-98
mission that was launched from KSC Feb. 7, 2001.

Landing at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is slated to occur
on orbit 169 at mission elapsed time 10 days, 18 hours, 37 minutes. Deorbit
burn will occur at about 11:45 a.m. EST.

The two KSC landing opportunities on Sunday are: 12:50 p.m. and 2:26
p.m. EST.

If managers must keep Atlantis in orbit an additional day, two additional
landing opportunities are available Monday at KSC at 1:24 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Two landing opportunities also exist at the back-up landing location at
Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif., on Sunday and Monday.

If landing occurs as scheduled, it will be the mark the 54th landing
at KSC in the history of the program.

SLF and KSC Ground Operations

The Shuttle Landing Facility was built in 1975. It is 300 feet wide
and 15,000 feet long with 1,000-foot overruns at each end. The strip runs
northwest to southeast and is located about three miles northwest of the
525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building.

Once the orbiter is on the ground, safing operations will commence
and the flight crew will prepare the vehicle for post-landing operations.
The Crew Transport Vehicle (CTV) will be used to assist the crew, allowing
them to leave the vehicle and remove their launch and re-entry suits easier
and quicker.

The CTV and other KSC landing convoy operations have been “on-call”
since the launch of Atlantis. The primary functions of the Space Shuttle
recovery convoy are to provide immediate service to the orbiter after
landing, assist crew egress, and prepare the orbiter for towing to the
Orbiter Processing Facility.

Convoy vehicles are stationed at the SLF’s mid-point. About two
hours prior to landing, convoy personnel will don SCAPE suits, or
Self-Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble, and communications checks
are made. A warming-up of coolant and purge equipment is conducted and
nearly two-dozen convoy vehicles are positioned to move onto the runway as
quickly and as safely as possible once the orbiter coasts to a stop. When
the vehicle is deemed safe of all potential explosive hazards and toxic
gases, the purge and coolant umbilical access vehicles move into position at
the rear of the orbiter.

Following purge and coolant operations, flight crew egress
preparations will begin and the CTV will be moved into position at the crew
access hatch located on the orbiter’s port side. A physician will board the
Shuttle and conduct a brief preliminary examination of the astronauts. The
crew will then make preparations to leave the vehicle.

Following departure from the SLF, the crew will be taken to their
quarters in the O&C Building, meet with their families and undergo physical
examinations. The crew is scheduled to remain at KSC overnight and depart
for Johnson Space Center on Monday.

If Atlantis lands at Edwards, an augmented KSC convoy team will be
on-site to safe the vehicle, disembark the crew and move the orbiter to the
Mate/Demate Device. The turnaround team will be deployed to Edwards by
charter aircraft on landing day.

About 30 hours after Atlantis lands at KSC, the orbiter will be
towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility for post-flight deservicing.

SpaceRef staff editor.