Status Report

STS-102 Status Report #27 – 21 Mar 2001 – 2:00 AM CST

By SpaceRef Editor
March 21, 2001
Filed under ,

After a surprising
turnaround in the Florida weather, Discoveryís astronauts — and
the first International Space Station residents — returned home to
Kennedy Space Center at 1:31 a.m. CST Wednesday.

STS-102 Commander
Jim Wetherbee fired Space Shuttle Discovery’s engines at 12:26 a.m.
CST to begin the shuttleís descent. With assistance from Pilot
Jim Kelly, he made a smooth landing on Runway 15, the 17th night landing
in the shuttle program and the 12th night landing at Kennedy. The shuttle
had traveled a total of 5,357,762 statute miles.

Expedition One
Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei
Krikalev, riding home in reclining seats to lessen the stress, felt
the tug of gravity for the first time in 141 days following their Oct.
31, 2000, launch to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule. The
Expedition One crew will be reunited with their families in Florida
this morning, and then begin a medical and rehabilitation period of
about 45 days.

Wetherbee, Kelly
and Mission Specialists Paul Richards and Andy Thomas had spent a total
of 12 days, 19 hours, 49 minutes on orbit. They had conducted a successful
rendezvous and docking with the space station complex, supported two
space walks to facilitate the first use of the Leonardo Multi-Purpose
Logistics Module and installed a station robot arm anchor point. They
also witnessed the first station crew changeout, unloaded 5 tons of
equipment and experiments, and packed up a ton of unneeded station equipment
and trash for return to Earth on Discovery.

All seven spacefarers
are expected to return home to Houston on Thursday afternoon.

Entry Flight Director
Wayne Hale made the a decision to land in Florida just before midnight
after cloudy skies and gusty winds had cleared due to a low-pressure
system that raced through the Shuttle Landing Facility area faster than
expected Tuesday night.

On board the International
Space Station, Expedition Two Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers
Susan Helms and Jim Voss were expected to hear word of their compatriotsí
landing later this morning. The trio spent a relatively quiet day in
space getting acclimated to their news surroundings and preparing themselves
for what will soon be a busy schedule of activiities continuing the
outfitting of the space station and beginning scientific research in
its Destiny laboratory.

SpaceRef staff editor.