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Shuttle Landing Delayed to Tuesday.


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Mission specialist Soichi Noguchi.
Mission specialist Soichi Noguchi. Image credit: NASA.

The Space Shuttle Discovery's landing has been pushed back to Tuesday because of low clouds above Florida's Cape Canaveral on Monday. All three primary landing sites will be activated on Tuesday, so the shuttle can potentially land at Cape Canaveral, Edwards Air Force Base in California, or White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico. Weather forecasters are expecting similar weather in Florida for Tuesday, so it's likely Discovery will have to use an alternative site. The first landing attempt will be at 0907 UTC (5:07 am EDT).

Discovery's seven astronauts will spend another day in space after weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center landing site prevented a return to Earth today.

Discovery's two landing opportunities to Florida were waved off this morning due to unpredictable cloud cover at the landing site.

All three primary Shuttle landing sites will be activated on Tuesday. NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, will remain the preferred landing site. Edwards Air Force Base, California, will be second in preference for landing and White Sands Space Harbor, New Mexico, will be third in preference. Two Shuttle landing opportunities will be available at each site.

Weather conditions at KSC for Tuesday are forecast to be similar to today with a slight chance of showers offshore. Edwards is forecast to have acceptable conditions for landing. White Sands' forecast includes a chance of showers.

Preparations are now focused on the first opportunity to land Tuesday which would begin with an engine firing by Discovery at 3:01 a.m. CDT and lead to a touchdown at KSC at 4:07 a.m. CDT. The additional landing opportunities include: a 4:33 a.m. Shuttle engine firing leading to a 5:39 a.m. landing at White Sands; a 4:37 a.m. engine firing leading to a 5:43 a.m. touchdown at KSC; a 6:06 a.m. engine firing leading to 7:12 a.m. touchdown at Edwards; a 6:09 a.m. engine firing leading to a 7:13 a.m. landing at White Sands; and a 7:44 a.m. engine firing leading to a 8:47 a.m. landing at Edwards.

The Shuttle crew will fire Discovery's engines at 7:19 a.m. today to adjust the Shuttle's orbit and optimize the landing opportunities for tomorrow. The crew will go to sleep at 11:39 a.m. and awaken at 7:39 p.m. to begin deorbit preparations.




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