Atlantis will have to try again on Friday to head back to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), after poor weather in Florida called off both landing attempts Thursday.
Throughout the day the weather remained dynamic, due to cloud cover, as controllers attempted to bring Atlantis back to her home in Florida, thus avoiding having to ferry her from California or New Mexico. However, managers have confirmed Edwards is now open for Friday, with the White Sands option being evaluated. Atlantis will land on Friday at one of the sites.
**The most comprehensive collection of STS-117 onwards related presentions and mission documentation, plus expansive daily processing documentation and updates are available to download on L2 **
L2 Members can follow live evaluations with memos and presentations as they are produced via our special STS-117 Special Section. Live as-it-happens NASA information.
STS-117 LIVE: LAUNCH DAY AND FLIGHT DAY 1 – FLIGHT DAY 2 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 3 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 4 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 5 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 6 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 7 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 8 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 9 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 10 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 11 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 12 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 13 – LIVE – FLIGHT DAY 14 – LIVE
Landing at KSC ensures Atlantis will return to her OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility) the same day, whereas a landing at the two alternative US landing sites – at Edwards Air Force base in California and White Sands in New Mexico would involve an expensive ferry trip for Atlantis, piggybacking on the SCA (Shuttle Carrier Aircraft).
Because of this, NASA planned to be making attempts to land at KSC Thursday and Friday, before opening up the option of landing in California on Saturday – if required. However, this has now changed, with Friday now including Edwards, with attempts being made to ready White Sands also.
Currently White Sands has only been advanced to becoming an option for Saturday. KSC will be the primary option on each day.
NASA managers have decided to take at least one of the landing options on Friday.
‘Weather does not look great right at KSC now but things change,’ noted the Flight Director notes early on Thursday morning, ‘so get in the mindset that we are coming home. Stay focused, keep positive.’
**Ride home through the fire and plasma of re-entry with Atlantis on STS-115 – And now also with Discovery on STS-116 – TWO Stunning high quality 2hr, 355mb videos – from deorbit burn to post landing**
Last night saw a late two hour MMT (Mission Management Team) meeting, which convened to check over the late inspection imagery that was conducted on Atlantis during Flight Day 12.
‘All Late Inspection LDRI imagery has been evaluated. A total of 161 Regions of Interest (ROIs) were identified during the evaluation. 92 ROIs were subsequently found in the baseline or determined to be image artifacts,’ noted one of the presentations reviewed by the MMT – acquired by this site’s L2 section.
’55 ROIs were determined to be benign. Benign is defined as not exceeding damage criteria and not exhibiting damage characteristics. 13 ROIs were classified as unresolved and required additional evaluation by the PRT.
‘1 ROI on Panel 11R which had an on-orbit WLE IDS indication. No ROIs were noted on Panel 7/8L which had an on-orbit WLE IDS indication. The LESS PRT/DAT reviewed all of the unresolved ROIs. IDC imagery was used to clear two unresolved ROIs. None of the ROIs exhibited damage characteristics.
‘From the late inspection LDRI and IDC imagery, the LESS PRT is GO for entry.’
With the observed debris seen shortly after the undocking from the International Space Station (ISS) – classed as a FOD (Foreign Object Debris) – believed to be ice from the orbiter, the only other debris noted was seen coming out of the payload bay a few hours later. This has now been confirmed as a washer.
‘On FD 12 debris was noted to be floating out of the payload bay, the crew reported it looked to be a washer with strings attached,’ noted information overnight. ‘(Teams) have provided a part number and drawing for what this is believed to be.’
This article will be updated throughout the day.
Follow Atlantis’ mission with live updates on our Flight Day specific interactive live event pages – open to all.
For L2 members, follow NASA’s evaluations on the L2 Flight Day specific pages (which contain many 100s and same day MMT level documentation and presentations – uploaded live during each Flight Day).
**INFINITY: 10 minute STS MUSIC VIDEO** – COMING SOON: Atlantis/Starlight.
(Video section is FREE, but you need to sign up as a member of the forum to enter the video section of the site. We only use your e-mail to send you your password. It will not be used for spam etc.)