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  • Back To The Planet
    Posted by Frank Morring, Jr. 3:47 PM on Feb 20, 2010

    Astronauts on the space shuttle Endeavour will begin configuring the orbit for reentry and landing when they wake up later this afternoon, after undocking from the International Space Station Friday night.

    The first chance to land at Kennedy Space Center will come at 10:16 p.m. EST, although forecasters say showers in the area may prevent that. Rain is also forecast Sunday at the backup landing site on Edwards Air Force Base in California.

    The six-member Endeavour crew bid farewell to the five members of ISS Expedition and undocked at 7:54 p.m. EST, after being docked to the orbiting outpost for nine days, 19 hours and 48 minutes.

    "Goodbye guys, see you back on the planet," radioed Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams as Endeavour backed away.


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    NASA TV

    With pilot Terry Virts at the controls, Endeavour carried out the normal flyaround so its crew could photograph its latest configuration. Orbital sunrise came as the orbiter pulled away.


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    NASA TV

    With the installation of the Tranquility pressurized node, the station is now 98 percent complete by volume, and 90 percent by mass. Tranquility houses life support and crew-exercise gear, and its seven-window cupola will soon be set up as the primary control center for the ISS robotic arm.


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    NASA TV

    After the flyaround, Endeavour began pulling away from the station. Until it lands, viewers on the ground below its flight path may be able to see the orbiter following the station across the sky. Click here to see if and when the two massive spacecraft will pass over your city.

    Before turning in for the night, Endeavour's crew used the orbiter boom extension system at the end of the robot arm to reinspect the composite panels that protect its nose cap and wing leading edges from the heat of reentry, ensuring that they weren't damaged by orbital debris.


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    NASA TV

    That data was relayed to Mission Control Center-Houston for analysis while the crew slept.



    Tags: os99, STS130, Endeavour, ISS, undock, flyaround

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