The odd bit

Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action.

The odd bit - Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action.

Landing day for Endeavour

Today is homecoming day for space shuttle Endeavour. The crew has been given the go for deorbit. The deorbit burn will take place in about 2 minutes at 17:25 CET. The landing at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility will take place around 18:32. If anything important happens, you’ll read it here.

The vehicle was cleared for landing earlier in the mission after NASA engineers and managers spent a week analysing one damaged area. The area got hit by a piece of foam from the external tank during the launch. Thermal assessments of the damaged tiles revealed that they don’t pose a threat to crew and vehicle safety during re-entry. A final post-docking inspection of the Thermal Protection System revealed no other damaged areas.

Updates (all times CET):

  • 17.24h: Good config for the burn.
  • 17.25h: Deorbit burn started!
  • 17.30h: Deorbit burn complete! The 1-hour trip to Earth’s surface has started.
  • 18.01h: Endeavour is now at the point called Entry Interface.
  • 18.04h: Mission Control warned the crew about a period of intermittent communications around the point of the first roll reversal.
  • 18.07h: First banking maneuver happens about now. This is used to bleed off excess speed.
  • 18.17h: As it just crossed Central America, Endeavour is now heading towards Cuba as it enters its first roll reversal.
  • 18.20h: Communications have been restored as the shuttle passes over Cuba.
  • 18.26h: And there she is! Visual contact at an altitude of over 80000 feet about 7 minutes from touchdown.
  • 18.29h: We just heard the famous double sonic boom.
  • 18.31h: The crew just reported the runway being in sight. She sure looks beautiful gliding down to the runway!
  • 18.32h: Gear down and locked.
  • 18.33h: Main gear touchdown… and nose gear touchdown!
  • 18.34h: Wheel stop!
  • 18.42h: The crew and Mission Control are now going through the procedures to put the vehicle in a safe configuration.

These are the official times given by NASA:

  • Main gear touchdown at 18:32:16 (Mission Elapsed Time [MET] of 12 days 17 hours 55 minutes 34 seconds)
  • Nose gear touchdown at 18:32:29 (MET of 12 days 17 hours 55 minutes 47 seconds)
  • Wheel stop at 18:33:20 (MET of 12 days 17 hours 56 minutes 38 seconds)
Category: Space
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