Status Report

STS-98 Status Report #23 18 Feb 2001 12:30 PM CST

By SpaceRef Editor
February 18, 2001
Filed under ,

Atlantis’ homecoming
was delayed today until Monday as gusty winds at the Kennedy Space Center
forced a waveoff of the Shuttle’s landing at the Florida spaceport.

Commander Ken Cockrell,
Pilot Mark Polansky and Mission Specialists Bob Curbeam, Marsha Ivins
and Tom Jones were ordered to stay in orbit for an extra day after Entry
Flight Director Leroy Cain concluded that crosswinds at the 3-mile long
Shuttle Landing Facility were out of limits despite crystal clear skies.
Atlantis’ crew had only two opportunities today in which to return to

The astronauts
closed the Shuttle’s cargo bay doors just after 8 a.m. Central time
this morning as Cain and his team of flight controllers closely monitored
the winds in Florida. Chief Astronaut Charlie Precourt provided real-time
observations as he flew the Shuttle Training Aircraft over the landing
strip, a Gulfstream jet modified to mimic the landing characteristics
of Atlantis.

Throughout the
morning, winds were observed to be gusting in excess of the 15 knot
crosswind limit for a daytime landing, and at 11:47 a.m. Central time,
Cain called off today’s landing efforts. Word of the waveoff was radioed
up to Cockrell by Spacecraft Communicator Scott Altman in Mission Control.

Atlantis will have
two opportunities again tomorrow in which to land at the Kennedy Space
Center. The first, on orbit 185, calls for a firing of Atlantis’ braking
rockets at 11:21 a.m. Central time with a landing on KSC’s Shuttle runway
at 12:27 p.m. Central time. Atlantis’ cargo bay doors would be closed
at around 8:40 a.m. Monday in preparation for that first landing opportunity.
A backup opportunity is also available on the following orbit, with
a deorbit firing of the orbital maneuvering system engines at 12:57
p.m. Central time and a landing at 2:03 p.m. Central time. The weather
forecast for the Cape tomorrow is promising, with only scattered clouds,
a possibility of one deck of broken clouds, and somewhat lighter winds
which are predicted to be acceptable for landing.

The backup landing
site at California’s Edwards Air Force Base is forecast to have unacceptable
weather, with broken clouds, high winds and a chance of showers.

Shortly after today’s
landing attempts were called off, Atlantis’ astronauts reopened the
Shuttle’s payload bay doors and removed their launch and entry suits
to begin their bonus day in space. The astronauts will begin an eight-hour
sleep period at 7:43 p.m. Central time tonight and will be awakened
at 3:43 a.m. Monday to begin their pre-landing preparations.

Atlantis continues
to orbit the Earth in excellent shape, completing an orbit of the Earth
every 90 minutes at an altitude of 237 statute miles.

Aboard the International
Space Station, Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko
and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev spent a relaxing day off aboard
the orbital outpost and will enjoy an off-duty day again on Monday.

The Johnson Space
Center newsroom will be closed overnight and will reopen Monday at 4
a.m. Central time. The next mission status report will be issued Monday
morning shortly after crew wakeup.

SpaceRef staff editor.