Status Report

STS-98 Status Report #26 20 Feb 2001 5:00 AM CST

By SpaceRef Editor
February 20, 2001
Filed under ,

Atlantis’ astronauts
are hoping that the third time will be the charm today as an improving
weather forecast at the Kennedy Space Center holds hope for the Shuttle’s
return to the Florida spaceport following two consecutive days of weather
related wave-offs.

The Kennedy Space
Center remains the primary target for today’s landing, with two opportunities
to bring Atlantis and its crew home. The initial forecast for today
shows generally acceptable conditions for landing, with a slight concern
for some clouds produced by offshore sea breeze and possible crosswinds
at the three-mile long landing strip. The first opportunity for the
day would call for a deorbit burn at 10:21 a.m. Central time, resulting
in a landing at 11:27 a.m. Central time. The second opportunity would
begin with a deorbit burn at 11:56 a.m. Central time with a landing
at 1:02 p.m.

Landing opportunities
are also available on the following two orbits at the backup landing
site at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Weather conditions on
the West Coast are marginal, however, with the possibility of rain within
30 miles of the landing site. The first of the Edwards’ opportunities
would call for the deorbit burn at 1:27 p.m. Central time and a landing
at 2:33 p.m. The final opportunity of the day to Edwards would involve
a deorbit burn at 3:04 p.m. and a landing at 4:09 p.m.

The White Sands
Space Harbor at Northrup Strip in New Mexico has three landing opportunities
available as well, and may be considered as a possible landing site,
although all efforts will focus on returning Atlantis either to Florida
or California. Entry Flight Director Leroy Cain intends to employ the
three best opportunities of the day in an effort to bring the two-week
flight to a close.

Atlantis has enough
propellent and consumables to stay aloft until at least Wednesday, if

The STS-98 astronauts
– Ken Cockrell, Mark Polansky, Bob Curbeam, Marsha Ivins and Tom Jones
– were awakened at 3:13 a.m. to the sounds of "Should I Stay or
Should I Go" by the Clash, as they prepared for their return trip
to Earth.

Aboard the International
Space Station, now about 1,100 miles behind Atlantis, Expedition One
Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei
Krikalev started a busy work week today preparing for Saturday’s relocation
of their Soyuz vehicle. The crewmembers will deactivate key ISS systems
early Saturday morning, then climb into their pressure suits to board
the Soyuz capsule for a 40-minute maneuver in which the Soyuz will be
undocked from its current location on the aft end of the Zvezda module
and redocked to the nadir port of the Zarya module. That will make room
for a Progress resupply vehicle due to arrive later this month.

All systems on
board Atlantis are performing well and ready to support today’s landing
efforts as the orbiter continues to circle the Earth at an altitude
of 237 statute miles.

The next mission
status report will be issued after Atlantis lands, or as mission events

SpaceRef staff editor.