Status Report

Columbia Scheduled to Land at KSC Feb. 1

By SpaceRef Editor
January 30, 2003
Filed under , ,
Columbia Scheduled to Land at KSC Feb. 1

The orbiter Columbia is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
Saturday, Feb. 1, at about 9:16 a.m. EST completing the 16-day STS-107
international microgravity research mission. Columbia launched from KSC on
Jan. 16, 2003, at 10:39 a.m. EST.

Landing at KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) is slated to occur on orbit
255 at mission elapsed time 15 days, 22 hours, 37 minutes. The deorbit burn
will occur at about 8:15 a.m. EST. A second KSC landing opportunity is also
available on Feb. 1 at 10:50 a.m. EST with a deorbit burn coming at 9:50
a.m. EST.

If managers must keep Columbia in orbit beyond Saturday, two landing
opportunities are available at KSC on Sunday, Feb. 2, at 7:38 a.m. EST and
at 9:12 a.m. EST. Two additional times are also available at KSC on Monday,
Feb. 3.

No landing opportunities are planned for the back-up landing location at
Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif., on Saturday or Sunday.

If landing occurs as scheduled, it will be the 62nd landing at KSC in the
history of the Shuttle program. Following landing, Columbia will be serviced
and prepared for its next mission, STS-118, targeted to launch in November

After touchdown, the STS-107 crew will be taken to their KSC quarters to
meet with their families and undergo initial physical examinations. A
post-mission press conference with select members of the STS-107 crew is
scheduled to occur at the KSC News Center at about 6 p.m. EST. Media should
check with the KSC Press Site for details.

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

The CTV and other KSC landing convoy operations have been “on-call” since
the launch of Columbia. 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 processing facility a
few hours following touchdown.

Convoy vehicles are stationed at the SLF’s mid-point. About two hours prior
to landing, convoy personnel 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.

NOTICE TO EDITORS: The KSC press site will open for landing activities at 5
a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. Accredited news media wishing to view Columbia’s
landing should be at the KSC News Center no later than 7:45 a.m. for
transport to the SLF. STS-107 launch badging requirements and security
restrictions for the media remain in effect. Media parking will be at Gate 3
on S.R. 405. Additional information regarding accreditation, transportation
to the KSC Press Site, landing photo opportunities, post-landing press
conferences with the STS-107 crew, and News Center operational hours is
available by calling the KSC News Center at (321) 867-2468.

SpaceRef staff editor.