Atlantis and its crew of five will spend at least one more day in orbit, after the weather in Florida refused to permit landing Monday night on either of two opportunities to Kennedy Space Center.
Atlantis will try again Tuesday night. The first of two opportunities for KSC would see a landing at 10:39 p.m. CDT on the 200th orbit of the mission. The second opportunity for the Florida landing site would see Atlantis touch down on orbit 201 at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday. Weather forecasts for Florida called for improving conditions.
Conditions late Monday and early Tuesday were marginal at the Cape, but very nearly improved enough to permit landing. Showers near the landing strip prevented Atlantis’ homecoming, and the decision was made to back off and try again Tuesday night without calling up landing support in California.
Atlantis Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Charlie Hobaugh and Mission Specialists Janet Kavandi, Mike Gernhardt and Jim Reilly reopened the shuttle’s payload bay doors as they moved through procedures to back out of the landing configuration. The crew was scheduled to go to bed just after 6 a.m. Tuesday, and to be awakened a few minutes after 2 p.m. to begin landing preparations again.
On the International Space Station, the Expedition Two crew awakened about 9:30 p.m. CDT Monday for another day of light duty following the hectic pace of joint operations with the shuttle crew. Commander Yury Usachev and Flight Engineers Susan Helms and Jim Voss were informed of their colleagues’ delayed return to Earth. About the only activities scheduled were continued unloading and stowage of the 2,500 pounds of supplies delivered by the Atlantis crew.
Both the shuttle and station continue to orbit at an average altitude of 240 statute miles with all systems working well.
The next status report will be issued Tuesday afternoon, or as events warrant.
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