The space shuttle Endeavour crew aims to land the shuttle this morning to end their space trip and mark an end to the STS-127 mission which was very successful over the last couple of weeks.
The shuttle is scheduled to touch down at 10:48AM EST at the Kennedy Space Center where weather is looking good but Mission Control was closely watching some thunderstorms offshore that could pose a risk if they move into the immediate vicinity.
Luckily, the shuttle has two opportunities today if the 10:48AM EST touchdown is a ‘no go’. The other opportunity for landing will begin at 11:16AM for the de-orbit burn with a landing at 12:22PM EST. If weather conditions do not improve for this second attempt, they crew must wait until Saturday for another window of opportunity.
The shuttle will be forced to land on Saturday on either the East coast or the West coast because the shuttle only has enough carbon dioxide-absorbing lithium hydroxide to make it through Sunday and NASA doesn’t want to cut it close.
During the 16-day mission, the crew performed five successful spacewalk which meant installing the ‘front porch’ to the Kibo laboratory on the International Space Station. An X-ray telescope and space environment monitor were installed on the porch along with some communication equipment.
The International Space Station now has a 700,000 pound mass weight and is now 83% completed.
The next launch by NASA will come in August where the Space Shuttle Discovery will lift off for the STS-128 mission.