Will Try Again Friday; Edwards Landing A Possibility
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 06.21.07 1405
EDT: Stormy weather near Kennedy Space Center scrubbed
NASA's plans to bring the space shuttle Atlantis home Thursday
"We looked as hard and as long as we think was reasonable, but
the rainshowers and the [cloud] ceilings are going to keep us from
landing in Florida today," Mission Control told Atlantis, according
to the Orlando Sentinel.
That decision leaves Atlantis with four landing options on
Friday: two at Kennedy, and two in California at Edwards Air Force
Base. More options are also available Saturday.
The first landing attempt Friday in Florida comes at 1416 EDT.
The second is on Orbit 219, which calls for landing at 1551 EDT at
If Florida weather does not cooperate, the first Edwards landing
opportunity would come at 1721 EDT The final opportunity is one
orbit later, at 1856 EDT.
NASA would prefer to return Atlantis to Florida, as a California
landing would mean the orbiter would have to be ferried back to
Florida on top of a modified 747. The last time a shuttle landed at
Edwards was the 2005 return of Discovery.
1230 EDT: Its launch was delayed... its departure from the International Space
Station was delayed... and now, its return to Earth has been
delayed yet again. The crew of the space shuttle Atlantis will have
to spend at least 90 more minutes in space than originally planned,
after NASA waved off the shuttle's first scheduled landing attempt
Thursday afternoon due to poor weather conditions at Kennedy Space
The culprit is thunderstorms in the vicinity of the Shuttle
Landing Facility, NASA tells ANN. Flight controllers and
forecasters with the Spaceflight Meteorology Group continue to
monitor weather conditions at and around the Shuttle Landing
Facility at the Florida spaceport.
Chief Astronaut Steve Lindsey is also providing additional
weather information while flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft in
the vicinity of the landing facility.
If flight controllers give STS-117 the go-ahead to land on the
second opportunity during Orbit 203, Commander Rick Sturckow and
Pilot Lee Archambault will fire Atlantis' thrusters at 1425 EDT to
begin the descent to Florida.
If flight controllers wave off for second time today,
opportunities are available Friday in Florida and at Edwards Air
Force Base in California.
06.21.07 0001 EDT:
NASA reports the seven STS-117
astronauts (shown below) are preparing for their return home, by
stowing equipment and checking out Atlantis' systems.
Atlantis is scheduled to touch down Thursday at 1355 EDT at
Florida's Kennedy Space Center. A second landing opportunity for
KSC is available at 1530 EDT.
Weather forecasts Thursday afternoon call for a possibility of
storms in the area.
Wednesday morning, Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee
Archambault test fired Atlantis' reaction control jets in
preparation for the deorbit burn that will begin the descent to
Florida. The burn for the first landing opportunity is slated to
take place at 1250 EDT Thursday.
As ANN reported, Atlantis
left the International Space Station on Tuesday. During its stay at
the station, which began June 10, the STS-117 crew continued the
construction of the station with the installation of the Starboard
3 and 4 (S3/S4) truss segment.
The crew installed the truss June 11 and conducted four
spacewalks to activate the S3/S4 and assist in the retraction of a
solar array on the Port 6 truss. During the third spacewalk, the
crew repaired an out of position thermal blanket on the left
orbital maneuvering system pod.
Atlantis also delivered a new station crew member, Flight
Engineer Clayton Anderson. He replaced astronaut Suni Williams, who
is the new record holder for a long-duration single spaceflight for
a woman. She arrived at the station in December with STS-116.
ANN will provide complete coverage of Atlantis' return home.