STS-108, Mission Control Center
Status Report # 23
Sunday, Dec. 16, 2001 4 p.m. CST

On board Endeavour today, the crew focused its efforts on checking out the systems and equipment that will be used during Endeavour's planned reentry and landing Monday.

Endeavour is scheduled to return to the Kennedy Space Center, FL, about 11:55 a.m. CST Monday, weather permitting. Preliminary weather forecasts predict generally acceptable conditions at the landing site, with a chance of rain showers in the vicinity. Entry Flight Director LeRoy Cain and his team of flight controllers coordinated the crew's checkout of flight control systems and surfaces this morning from Mission Control.

Endeavour's crew deployed a small satellite called STARSHINE 2 from a canister located in the payload bay at about 9 a.m. CST today. More than 30,000 students from 660 schools in 26 countries will track STARSHINE 2 as it orbits the Earth for eight months. The students, who helped polish STARSHINE'S 845 mirrors, will use the information they collect to calculate the density of the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Endeavour's middeck will carry home the results of several experiments completed during Expedition Three on the International Space Station. These include the Advanced Protein Crystallization Facility, the Dynamically Controlled Protein Crystal Growth experiment and cells from the Cellular Biotechnology Operations Support System (CBOSS). The CBOSS equipment aboard the space station will remain active during Expedition Four, growing ovarian and colon cancer cells, as well as kidney cells in microgravity.

Endeavour's activities are geared toward a landing at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday. Although opportunities exist, flight controllers do not plan to consider a landing by Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, Monday. The primary KSC landing opportunity Monday would begin with a shuttle engine firing at 10:50 a.m. CST leading to the 11:55 a.m. CST touchdown. A second opportunity to land at KSC also is available on Monday, beginning with an engine firing at 12:28 p.m. CST that would lead to a 1:32 p.m. CST touchdown at KSC.

The Johnson Space Center newsroom will open at 5 a.m. CST Monday, and the next Mission Control status report will be issued at about 6 a.m. CST Monday or as events warrant.

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