Bad Weather Pushes STS-117 Landing to Friday


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Image above: The Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., awaits the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis. Image credit: NASA TV

The STS-117 crew is getting an extra day in space thanks to poor weather conditions at Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Space shuttle Atlantis has four landing opportunities available Friday, with the first at 2:16 p.m. EDT in Florida.

Thunderstorms in the vicinity of Kennedy forced flight controllers to wave off both opportunities today. Controllers and the Spaceflight Meteorology Group will closely monitor forecasts for Friday's opportunities in Florida and at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The first opportunity Friday is on Orbit 218 and calls for a deorbit burn at 1:14 p.m. The second is on Orbit 219, which calls for the deorbit burn to begin at 2:50 p.m. and landing to occur at 3:51 p.m. at Kennedy.

If Florida weather does not cooperate, two opportunities are available at Edwards. The first is on Orbit 220. The deorbit burn would occur at 4:19 p.m. and landing at 5:21 p.m. The final opportunity is one orbit later with the deorbit burn at 5:55 p.m. and the landing at 6:56 p.m.

Opportunities are also available Saturday.

Atlantis launched June 8 and arrived at the International Space Station on June 10. While at the orbital outpost, the crew installed the Starboard 3 and 4 truss segment and conducted four spacewalks to activate it. During the third spacewalk, the crew repaired an out of position thermal blanket on the left orbital maneuvering system pod.

Atlantis also delivered a new station crew member, Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson. He replaced astronaut Suni Williams, who is the new record holder for a long-duration single spaceflight for a woman. She arrived at the station in December with STS-116.

STS-117 is the 118th shuttle mission and 21st mission to visit the space station. The next mission, STS-118, is slated to launch in August.

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