Bad Weather Pushes STS-117 Landing to Friday
The STS-117 crew is getting an extra day in space thanks to poor weather conditions at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Space shuttle Atlantis has five landing opportunities available Friday, with the first at 2:18 p.m. EDT in Florida.
Thunderstorms in the vicinity of Kennedy forced flight controllers to wave off both opportunities today. Controllers and the Spaceflight Meteorology Group will closely monitor forecasts for Friday's opportunities in Florida and at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The first opportunity Friday is on Orbit 218 and calls for a deorbit burn at 1:16 p.m. The second is on Orbit 219, with the deorbit burn at 2:52 p.m. and landing at 3:54 p.m. at Kennedy.
If Florida weather does not cooperate, three opportunities are available at Edwards. The first is on Orbit 219. This afternoon, the crew will adjust Atlantis' orbit to set the stage for this opportunity, which has the deorbit burn occurring at 2:46 p.m. and landing at 3:49 p.m.
The second opportunity for the California base is on Orbit 220. The deorbit burn would occur at 4:21 p.m. and landing at 5:24 p.m. The final opportunity is one orbit later which calls for the deorbit burn to occur at 5:58 p.m. and landing at 6:59 p.m.
Friday's weather forecast for Kennedy calls for the threat of thunderstorms in the area and high winds are a possibility at Edwards. Opportunities are also available Saturday.
Atlantis launched June 8 and arrived at the International Space Station on June 10. While at the orbital outpost, the crew installed the Starboard 3 and 4 truss segment and conducted four spacewalks to activate it. 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.
STS-117 is the 118th shuttle mission and 21st mission to visit the space station. The next mission, STS-118, is slated to launch in August.