Science and Technology News

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Endeavour Undocks from Station

At 11:55 p.m. EDT Sunday, space shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station. Endeavour spent 11 days, 17 hrs and 41 minutes docked to the orbiting laboratory. At undocking, the spacecraft were 215 miles above LaPaz, Bolivia.

The fly around of the space station will begin at 12:22 a.m., with Pilot Greg Johnson maneuvering Endeavour to circle the station at a distance of about 600 feet. The shuttle crew members will take detailed photographs of the external structure of the station, which serves as important documentation for the ground teams in Houston to monitor the orbiting laboratory.

Once the shuttle completes 1.5 revolutions of the complex, Johnson will fire Endeavour’s jets to leave the area. Nearly two hours after undocking a second firing of the engines, which would normally take the shuttle further away, will serve as the first maneuver to bring Endeavour back toward the station for the Sensor Test for Orion Relative-navigation Risk Mitigation, or STORRM. Commander Mark Kelly will pilot Endeavour for the re-rendezvous.

The test will characterize the performance of sensors in Endeavour’s payload bay and acquisition of reflectors on the shuttle’s docking target at the station. The re-rendezvous will mimic the Orion vehicle’s planned rendezvous trajectory and will approach no closer than 600 feet to the station. Endeavour is targeted to approach the station to a point 1,000 feet below and 300 feet behind the station at its closest point.

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