STS-109, Mission Control Center
Status Report # 21
Sunday, March 10, 2002 - 8:30 p.m. CST

After a day off and a good night's rest, the seven-member crew of Columbia will focus on the end of a mission featuring five successful spacewalks to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

Landing is scheduled for 3:32 a.m. CST Tuesday at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The weather forecast for landing calls for generally acceptable conditions with only a slight chance of rain showers developing offshore.

Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Duane Carey, and Mission Specialist Nancy Currie will test Columbia's mechanical maneuvering systems at 12:47 a.m. CST Monday to ensure they will be able to steer the shuttle on the correct path for landing. They also will test the reaction control system jets at 1:47 a.m. for assured maneuverability during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Crewmates Mike Massimino, John Grunsfeld, Rick Linnehan and Jim Newman will help pack away the equipment used throughout the mission.

The crew also will take time to answer questions from middle school students at the Maryland Science Center and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science at 10:12 p.m. The crew news conference with reporters at Kennedy and the Johnson Space Center in Houston is scheduled for 11:57 p.m. Sunday.

The song "Floating" by the Moody Blues awakened the crew at 7:22 p.m. Sunday. The song was dedicated to first-time fliers, pilot "Digger" and spacewalker Massimino.

Tuesday's primary landing opportunity to Kennedy would begin with a deorbit engine firing by Columbia at 2:22 a.m. CST leading to the 3:32 a.m. touchdown. A second landing opportunity also is available for Kennedy on Tuesday, beginning with an engine firing at 4:05 a.m. leading to a touchdown at 5:13 a.m.

Although opportunities do exist for landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., shuttle managers plan to focus Tuesday only on a landing in Florida. Additional landing opportunities are available Wednesday, in both Florida and California.

The crew will begin a sleep period at 11:22 a.m. Monday. The next mission status report will be issued Monday morning, or as events warrant.


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