Encyclopedia Astronautica
2006.07.16 - STS-121 MCC Status Report #24


The Space Shuttle Discovery crew is scheduled for their last full day in space today, as they make their final preparations for deorbit and landing tomorrow.

Their day began at 12:18 a.m. with “Just Like Heaven,” by The Cure for Mission Specialist Piers Sellers. It was requested by his family.

At 3 a.m., Shuttle Commander Steve Lindsey, Pilot Mark Kelly and Entry Flight Engineer Lisa Nowak will do an hour-long flight control system checkout and fire the reaction control system jets. The checkout will let managers further assess the performance of one of the auxiliary power units. The APUs power flight control surfaces. Specialists had detected a small leak in the APU but have determined it is likely a nitrogen gas leak and should not affect re-entry.

Throughout the day, most of the crew members, including Mission Specialists Mike Fossum and Stephanie Wilson, will work on final clean up and stowage of the vehicle cabin area. All six crew members will participate in a deorbit briefing with the ground team as part of their final preparation for landing.

At 11:03 a.m. CDT, the STS-121 crew will participate in interviews with major television networks, including, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX and NBC. That event will be televised on NASA television.

Mission managers continue to analyze images from the post-undocking inspection of Discovery's port wing and nose cone. Initial analysis indicated nothing amiss. A decision on whether to clear Discovery for landing is expected later today.

Discovery's deorbit burn is scheduled for 7:07 a.m. Monday, for an 8:14 a.m. CDT landing at Kennedy Space Center. A second opportunity would see a deorbit engine firing at 8:43 a.m. for a landing at 9:50 a.m.

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineers Jeff Williams and Thomas Reiter are enjoying an off-duty day after the intense activity during Discovery docked operations.

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