From: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2010
The joint docked mission between the crews of the International Space Station and space shuttle Endeavour comes to an end this evening when the shuttle undocks from the station at 6:54 p.m. to begin the voyage back to Earth and a Sunday night landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The 2:14 p.m. wakeup call for Endeavour’s astronauts was “In Wonder” by Newsboys, played for Pilot Terry Virts, who will be at the controls for this evening’s undocking and flyaround.
At undocking the shuttle’s Orbiter Docking System will release its grip on the station’s Pressurized Mating Adapter 2, and springs will push the two vehicles gently apart. Virts will manually fly the shuttle to 450 feet directly in front of the station, and then fly a circle around the station while the shuttle crew members, and the cameras in Endeavour’s payload bay, focus on documenting the state of the station and its new Tranquility and cupola modules.
After the flyaround Virts will fire Endeavour’s jets to move the orbiter out behind the station for the late inspection of its thermal protection system using the Orbiter Boom Sensor System.
Starting at 11:19 p.m., Commander George Zamka, Mission Specialists Kathryn Hire, Stephen Robinson, and Nicholas Patrick and Virts will work in shifts to examine the reinforced Carbon-Carbon panels and heat shield tiles on the starboard wing, nose cap and port wing. This inspection for damage from orbital debris is a routine post-undocking protocol on all space shuttle missions.
Sleep comes a bit earlier for the crew tomorrow at about 6 a.m. as it adjusts for entry day Sunday. Mission Control will wake the astronauts at 2:14 p.m. Saturday for day-before-entry systems checkouts and cabin stow activities.
The next status report will be issued after the crew work day is complete, or earlier if events warrant.
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