BY JUSTIN RAY
April 23, 2000 -- February's flight of space shuttle Endeavour on an 11-day radar mapping mission is recorded here in this archive of our mission coverage.
See our current Mission Status Center for updates on space shuttle Atlantis' mission to the International Space Station scheduled for launch April 24.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2000
The data stored on 332 high-density tapes will be used by researchers to generate the finest 3D map of the Earth's surface. "It will be a very good present from 20th century to 21st century people all over the world," said Endeavour astronaut Mamoru Mohri of Japan's space agency.
The astronauts flew back to their home base in Houston after the news conference at Kennedy Space Center's press site.
Meanwhile, space shuttle Endeavour was towed from the Shuttle Landing Facility runway to Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2 a few hours after touchdown. NASA said the shuttle was in the hangar by 1:34 a.m. EST (0634 GMT). The shuttle will now undergo routine post-flight deservicing and inspections before work starts to prepare the craft for its next journey into space in November.
This will complete our Mission Status Center coverage of STS-99.
0430 GMT (11:30 p.m. EST)
Here are the preliminary landing times:
Main gear touchdown
We will update the STS-99 Mission Status Center for a final time around midday Wednesday once the astronauts depart KSC.
0043 GMT (7:43 p.m. EST)
Workers plan to tow space shuttle Endeavour from the runway to Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2 in about two hours. In the OPF hangar Endeavour will undergo safing and post-flight deservicing. In a few weeks, NASA will begin preparing the shuttle for its next mission -- the STS-97 mission to deliver solar arrays to the International Space Station in November.
We have posted a video clip of Endeavour's landing. The QuickTime file runs 26 seconds.
Check back later tonight for a landing wrap-up story and images.
0027 GMT (7:27 p.m. EST)
0005 GMT (7:05 p.m. EST)
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2000
2338 GMT (6:38 p.m. EST)
2337 GMT (6:37 p.m. EST)
2333 GMT (6:33 p.m. EST)
Live television views show a plume of exhaust shooting up from the Auxiliary Power Units on the tail of Endeavour. This is seen on previous landings but the color and extent tonight is like nothing in the past. NASA says it more pronounced tonight due to the lighting conditions on the runway.
2323 GMT (6:23 p.m. EST)
2322 GMT (6:22 p.m. EST)
2322 GMT (6:22 p.m. EST)
2322 GMT (6:22 p.m. EST)
2321 GMT (6:21 p.m. EST)
2320 GMT (6:20 p.m. EST)
2319 GMT (6:19 p.m. EST)
2318 GMT (6:18 p.m. EST)
2316 GMT (6:16 p.m. EST)
2316 GMT (6:16 p.m. EST)
2314 GMT (6:14 p.m. EST)
2312 GMT (6:12 p.m. EST)
2311 GMT (6:11 p.m. EST)
2311 GMT (6:11 p.m. EST)
2310 GMT (6:10 p.m. EST)
2306 GMT (6:06 p.m. EST)
2304 GMT (6:04 p.m. EST)
2322 GMT (6:02 p.m. EST)
2257 GMT (5:57 p.m. EST)
Endeavour is currently at altitude of 47 miles with a speed over 16,000 miles per hour.
2256 GMT (5:56 p.m. EST)
2253 GMT (5:53 p.m. EST)
2250 GMT (5:50 p.m. EST)
2238 GMT (5:38 p.m. EST)
2230 GMT (5:30 p.m. EST)
2227 GMT (5:27 p.m. EST)
Today's landing will be the 21st consecutive to occur at Kennedy Space Center dating back to May 1996 and the 28th of the last 29 shuttle missions. KSC is the most used landing site for the space shuttle program with this the 50th touchdown. Edwards Air Force Base in California has seen 45 landings and White Sands in New Mexico supported one.
2225 GMT (5:25 p.m. EST)
2223 GMT (5:23 p.m. EST)
2211 GMT (5:11 p.m. EST)
2200 GMT (5:00 p.m. EST)
"Endeavour, Houston. Go for the deorbit burn," astronaut Rick Sturckow radioed from Houston. "OK, thank you, good news. Go for the burn," Endeavour commander Kevin Kregel replied.
Endeavour will begin the two-minute, 19-second deorbit burn at 5:25:10 p.m. EST about 150 miles above the Indian Ocean. The maneuver will slow the shuttle's speed enough to drop Endeavour from orbit, beginning an hour-long dive back towards a pin-point landing in Florida.
2155 GMT (4:55 p.m. EST)
2144 GMT (4:44 p.m. EST)
Crosswinds are being monitored at Kennedy Space Center. Also, chief astronaut Charlie Precourt is flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft around the Cape to check the weather conditions Endeavour would encounter during approach to the runway. Shortly, Precourt will head further away from KSC to examine some clouds streaming into east-central Florida from the Atlantic Ocean.
2130 GMT (4:30 p.m. EST)
2111 GMT (4:11 p.m. EST)
With this in mind, the shuttle astronauts were told to begin fluid loading, which is a procedure where the crewmembers get as much fluid as they can in their bodies to replace that lost in space, helping the readaptation to Earth's gravity. The loading typically lasts the one hour before the deorbit burn.
2100 GMT (4:00 p.m. EST)
Crosswinds at KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility are forecasted to decrease slightly this afternoon, giving NASA some hope of Endeavour being able to land in Florida at the second of today's two opportunities there. If weather remains "no go" in Florida today, NASA will likely send Endeavour to the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
2030 GMT (3:30 p.m. EST)
"Endeavour, you are no go for the deorbit burn," astronaut communicator Rick Sturckow radioed from Mission Control in Houston.
Endeavour will now remain in space for one additional orbit. Weather forecasters say the crosswinds should decrease for the next landing opportunity into KSC. If conditions become acceptable, Endeavour will fire its orbital maneuvering system engines at 5:23:40 p.m. EST (2223:40 GMT), breaking the shuttle from Earth orbit. Touchdown would occur at 6:22:26 p.m. EST (2322:26 GMT).
2012 GMT (3:12 p.m. EST)
In the last few minutes, the astronauts have completed routine gimbal checks of Endeavour's twin orbital maneuvering system engine nozzles and prestarted the shuttle's Auxiliary Power Units used by the hydraulic systems.
Although it is not official, entry flight director John Shannon is likely to pass up the first landing opportunity today at Kennedy Space Center due to concerns over low clouds and gusty crosswinds. Officials continue to hope weather conditions will improve for the second KSC landing option today, which would start with a deorbit burn at 5:23:40 p.m. EST (2223:40 GMT) and touchdown at 6:22:26 p.m. EST (2322:26 GMT).
If Florida's weather does not cooperate with NASA today, the space agency could send the shuttle to Edwards Air Force Base in California where conditions are acceptable. The single Edwards opportunity on orbit 182 would start with a deorbit burn at 6:50:40 p.m. EST (2350:40 GMT) and landing at 7:48:08 p.m. EST (0048:08 GMT)
1935 GMT (2:35 p.m. EST)
At this point, Mission Control has not waved off the option to send Endeavour toward an on-time landing at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT) if crosswinds at the KSC runway are within limits. The forecast currently calls for the winds to be above the 15-knot limit.
Mission Control is expected to make its "go/no go" decision on the first landing opportunity in about one hour from now. If Endeavour is cleared for landing, the shuttle's twin orbital maneuvering system engines will fire for two minutes and 21 seconds beginning at 3:53 p.m. EST. The deorbit burn will slow the ship's speed enough to send Endeavour back into Earth's atmosphere.
If the weather does not clear in time for the first landing opportunity, NASA will keep Endeavour in space for another orbit. The second and last chance to land in Florida today will begin with a deorbit burn at 5:23 p.m. EST (2223 GMT) and touchdown at 6:22 p.m. EST (2322 GMT).
1900 GMT (2:00 p.m. EST)
Weather remains a concern for the planned 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT) landing time at Kennedy Space Center. However, forecasters are becoming more optimistic conditions will improve to allow landing during the second opportunity at 6:22 p.m. EST (2322 GMT) at KSC.
1850 GMT (1:50 p.m. EST)
Mission Control is becoming more optimistic that weather conditions will allow landing at Kennedy Space Center today during the second opportunity at 6:22 p.m. EST (2322 GMT).
1839 GMT (1:39 p.m. EST)
In space, the astronauts have switched Endeavour's flight computers from the on-orbit to the entry software called OPS-3.
1817 GMT (1:17 p.m. EST)
Upcoming in the next few minutes, the astronauts will transition Endeavour's onboard computers from the OPS-2 on-orbit software to the OPS-3 package for landing. In about 75 minutes, the crew will don their day-glo orange launch and entry spacesuits.
1807 GMT (1:07 p.m. EST)
1750 GMT (12:50 p.m. EST)
Mission Control will make a decision shortly whether to close Endeavour's payload bay doors on schedule at about 1:15 p.m. EST (1815 GMT).
At the prime landing site, chief NASA astronaut Charlie Precourt is flying a T-38 jet around the Kennedy Space Center area for weather reconnaissance. His reports on crosswinds, low clouds and nearby rainshowers will be added to discussions at Mission Control about the KSC weather conditions. The official forecast continues to show a "no go" status for KSC today for the landing opportunities at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT) and 6:22 p.m. EST (2322 GMT).
1650 GMT (11:50 a.m. EST)
Officials at Mission Control in Houston, however, are keeping a very close eye on weather conditions at the preferred landing site at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Conditions at the Cape are currently forecasted "no go" due to low clouds and gusty crosswinds. Meteorologists also report rainshowers are building over the Atlantic Ocean, just east of KSC. But those rainshowers, the weather folks say, could break the flow of clouds toward shore, potentially allowing Endeavour to head back to Florida today.
NASA has two opportunities on consecutive orbits to land Endeavour at KSC: 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT) and 6:22 p.m. EST (2322 GMT).
If the KSC weather does not cooperate today, NASA will likely divert Endeavour to the alternate landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California where conditions are forecasted to be acceptable. Landing there would occur at 7:48 p.m. EST (0048 GMT).
The weather forecast for KSC and Edwards on Wednesday looks poor, so NASA wants to bring Endeavour back to Earth today.
0350 GMT (10:50 p.m. EST)
We will provide continuous live updates throughout the day as NASA prepares to bring Endeavour home.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2000
Both Kennedy Space Center and Edwards Air Force Base will be "called up" for landing support on Tuesday. However, the weather in Florida is forecast to be "no-go" for the next three days. Edwards will have acceptable weather tomorrow, but conditions there will deteriorate on Wednesday and Thursday.
1812 GMT (1:12 p.m. EST)
1743 GMT (12:43 p.m. EST)
"The prognosis for weather for KSC is bad for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, so that's making us look a little harder at the Edwards opportunity on the first day and right now it is our only viable option," Hadfield said.
Both gusty crosswinds and cloudy skies are expected to be a problem for a landing in Florida. The weather at Edwards is forecast to deteriorate in after Tuesday.
1628 GMT (11:28 a.m. EST)
We have posted a video clip of the radar antenna mast failing to latch during the first attempt. The QuickTime file runs 42 seconds.
Once SRTM is buttoned up shortly, the astronauts will turn their attention to checking Endevour's flight control systems and jet thrusters for Tuesday's scheduled reentry and landing.
Plans call for the shuttle to fire its twin orbital maneuvering system engines tomorrow at 3:52 p.m. EST (2052 GMT) for the deorbit orbit burn, beginning the hour-long glide through Earth's atmosphere. Touchdown at Kennedy Space Center in Florida to conclude the 11-day STS-99 mission is expected at 4:50 p.m. EST (2150 GMT).
NASA has two backup landing opportunities on Tuesday. The first will occur at KSC one orbit later with a touchdown at 6:22 p.m. EST (2322 GMT). The last of the day will come at the alternate landing site -- Edwards Air Force Base in California -- at 7:48 p.m. EST (0048 GMT).
The weather forecast shows suspect conditions at KSC and Edwards. Meteorologists say KSC will see scattered clouds at 4,000 and 25,000 feet, 7 miles of visibility and northeasterly winds at 13 peaking to 20 knots. There will be some concern of crosswind violation and the clouds becoming broken at 4,000 feet that would constitute a ceiling. Edwards looks fine with scattered clouds at 5,000 feet, broken at 12,000 feet, and overcast of 20,000 feet, visibility of 7 miles, southwesterly winds at 12 peaking to 18 knots.
NASA will hold the traditional pre-landing news conference at 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT) today. We will post a full landing preview later this evening.
1602 GMT (11:02 a.m. EST)
1557 GMT (10:57 a.m. EST)
1550 GMT (10:50 a.m. EST)
1542 GMT (10:42 a.m. EST)
1523 GMT (10:23 a.m. EST)
See our earlier Mission Status Center coverage of STS-99.
Flight data file
Vehicle: Endeavour (OV-105)
Launch date: Feb. 11, 2000
Launch window: 1730-1940 GMT (12:30-2:40 p.m. EST)
Launch site: LC-39A, Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Landing date: Feb. 22, 2000
Landing time: 2322 GMT (6:22 p.m. EST)
Landing site: SLF, KSC
Crew: Kregel, Gorie, Kavandi, Voss, Mohri, Thiele
See the path Endeavour took on its return to Earth with our STS-99 Landing Tracker.
KSC Orbit 181 - touchdown in Florida at 2223 GMT.
Launch - Images of space shuttle Endeavour launching on STS-99.
Countdown - Images of Endeavour and astronauts during today's countdown to launch.
First try - Images from scrubbed countdown on Jan. 31.
Pre-flight Work - Images taken during Endeavour processing in its hangar, the Vehicle Assembly Building and rollout to pad 39A.
Shuttle Endeavour makes a spectacular sunset touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center.
PLAY (235k, 26sec QuickTime file)
The shuttle's radar antenna mast fails to latch to its canister after being retracted.
PLAY (292k, 42sec QuickTime file)
The 197-foot long radar antenna mast is extended from a canister inside the payload bay of space shuttle Endeavour.
PLAY (315k, 1min, 09sec QuickTime file)
Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off Friday from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida for an 11-day mission.
PLAY (480k, 44sec QuickTime file)
A camera atop the 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center captured this video of Endeavour launching about 3 1/2 miles away.
PLAY (311k, 39sec QuickTime file)
A tracking camera positioned in front of launch pad 39A gives this dramatic view of shuttle Endeavour lifting off.
PLAY (210k, 27sec QuickTime file)
Endeavour's six international astronauts depart their quarters on Friday for launch pad 39A to board the shuttle.
PLAY (136k, 12sec QuickTime file)
The six international astronauts that will fly aboard shuttle Endeavour returns to Kennedy Space Center for launch.
PLAY (491k, 1min, 52sec QuickTime file).
Animation shows 200-foot long antenna mast being deployed from Endeavour. Narrated by Lead Flight Director Paul Dye.
PLAY (472k, 1min 10sec QuickTime file)
Animation of the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission's coverage of North America during Endeavour's flight.
PLAY (56k, 10sec QuickTime file)
The SRTM antenna mast is retracted back into Endeavour's payload bay as seen in animation. Narrated by Lead Flight Director Paul Dye.
PLAY (221k, 32sec QuickTime file)
The STS-99 crew meet the press at launch pad 39A during a break in preflight training.
PLAY (2.9MB,19min 45sec QuickTime file)
Download QuickTime 4 software to view this file.
Mission Overview - Complete report on Endeavour mission, payload and astronauts.
Launch Windows - Chart of available launch windows for Endeavour during the next several days.
Ascent Timeline - Chart of events to occur during launch.
STS-99 Index - Directory of our STS-99 mission coverage.
Explore the Net
NASA Human Spaceflight - Space agency Web site dedicated to International Space Station and space shuttle programs.
Press kit - Official STS-99 mission press kit.
CBS News - Comprehensive coverage of STS-99 by respected journalist William Harwood.
SpaceRef - Mission guide to STS-99 with links to other coverage.
Shuttle Media Reference Guide - Complete in-depth look at space shuttle systems and facilities.
Shuttle Countdown Online - NASA Kennedy Space Center site with pre-launch information.
United Space Alliance - prime contractor responsible for daily shuttle processing work.
Thiokol - Manufactures the shuttle's solid rocket boosters.
Rocketdyne - Division of Boeing that builds shuttle main engines.
Lockheed Martin - Corporation that builds the external fuel tank.
SpaceRef search engine will scour five major space shuttle web sites in seconds.