Status Report # 12
27, 1999, 11:00 p.m. CDT
Columbia's astronauts glided
to a smooth landing tonight at the Kennedy Space
Center, wrapping up their five-day mission to deploy the Chandra X-Ray
Commander Eileen Collins flew
Columbia to a textbook touchdown at 10:20 p.m.
Central time on Runway 3-3 at the Cape's Shuttle's Landing Facility,
of darkness to complete a mission spanning almost 1.8 million miles.
Ashby, Flight Engineer Steve Hawley and Mission Specialist Cady Coleman
Collins on the flight deck for entry and landing. Mission Specialist
Michel Tognini of
the French Space Agency was seated alone down in the middeck. It was
consecutive Shuttle landing at the Florida spaceport and the 12th night
Shuttle program history.
A few minutes earlier, Columbia
provided a light show for residents in Houston as
it sped overhead about 15 minutes before landing, visible in the nighttime
an orange streak headed for Florida. Columbia was at an altitude of
feet at the time, travelling about 15 times the speed of sound.
Left behind in orbit is the
Chandra Observatory, which was released from
Columbia's cargo bay last Friday morning. Telescope controllers at the
Operations Control Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts say the Observatory
excellent shape in the first week of its checkout for scientific operations.
The astronauts will be reunited
with their families overnight Wednesday before
holding a news conference at the Kennedy Space Center to discuss their
That news conference is scheduled at about 4:30 a.m. Central time and
broadcast on NASA Television just prior to the astronauts' departure
The crew plans to return to
Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center
Wednesday morning at about 10:15 a.m. Central time, where the five astronauts
are expected to be greeted by Vice-President Gore, JSC Director George
Abbey and center employees. The crew return, which will occur at Hangar
Ellington, will be broadcast live on NASA TV. It is open to the public.
Further updates on crew return
can be obtained by calling the JSC newsroom
Wednesday morning after 8 a.m. Central time.
NASA Johnson Space Center
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