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  • Astronauts Face Rainy Forecast With Clearing Possible as They Attempt Monday Landing
    Posted by Mark Carreau 7:49 AM on Apr 19, 2010

    Discovery's seven astronauts awakened early Monday with rain still in the forecast for their landing site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    There were two opportunities Monday for the seven astronauts to end their successful, 14-day re-supply mission to the International Space Station with a landing in Florida, 8:48 a.m., EDT, and 10:23 a.m., EDT. Rain showers within 35 miles of the runway, a flight rule violation, were likely.

    But a low pressure system was moving off at a faster pace than in an earlier forecast, offering the prospect for an improvement.

    "Hopefully things will clear out," Mission Control told Discovery commander Alan Poindexter at 3:30 a.m, EDT.
    The descent was to take Discovery on a Northwest to Southeast course through the U. S. Midwest and Southeast, creating the possibility that a glowing contrail will be visible to spectators along the ground track.

    NASA had no plans to make the shuttle's primary backup landing site, Edward Air Force Base, Calif., available until Tuesday.

    Showers remain a possible in Florida on Tuesday. The Edwards outlook is favorable.

    "We are looking forward to having some good weather so we can get home today," Poindexter told Mission Control after his crew was awakened and told to make preparations to descend to Earth.

    Discovery has enough provisions to remain in orbit until Wednesday if necessary, said Bryan Lunney, the NASA flight director who will supervise the landing activities from Mission Control.

    The shuttle lifted off April 5 on what has been a successful mission to prepare the space station for operations following the shuttle program's retirement later this year.

    Tags: os99, Discovery, shuttle

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