STS-127 Mission Updates: Part 2
Space shuttle Endeavour kicks up dust as it touches down on Runway 15 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 31, 2009 to complete the 16-day, 6.5-million mile journey on the STS-127 mission to the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Astronauts to Discuss Shuttle Flight
31 July 2009 2:55 p.m. EDT

The astronauts who just returned to Earth aboard the shuttle Endeavour are about to discuss their successful mission with reporters at NASA?s Kennedy Space Center at 3 pm ET. You can watch the briefing live by clicking here.

Endeavour landed on time at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT) to end a 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s wrap up of today?s landing.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Astronauts Inspect Space Shuttle
31 July 2009 12:20 p.m. EDT

Endeavour?s seven-astronaut crew has exited the Crew Transport Vehicle and are on the tarmac, where they were greeted by NASA dignitaries, including new NASA chief Charles Bolden after today?s successful landing. The astronauts will take a close look at Endeavour to see how their spaceship withstood the fiery heat of re-entry.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s wrap up of today?s landing. A post-landing update on NASA TV is expected at around 1 p.m. EDT. A press conference with Endeavour?s astronauts is slated for about 3 p.m. EDT.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Astronauts Disembark Shuttle Endeavour
31 July 2009 12:00 p.m. EDT

The seven astronauts of shuttle Endeavour have exited the spacecraft after 16 days in space and a 6.5 million mile trip. Shuttle commander Mark Polansky was the last one out of the Endeavour, albeit a bit reluctantly.

?I?m enjoying this as much as I can,? Polansky, a three-time shuttle flyer said, as he stretched out his time aboard the shuttle. ?I don't think I can delay any longer and if it?s okay with you, I am going to sign off from the bridge of Endeavour. Thank everybody for a fantastic mission.? Polansky and his crew inside an astronaut transport vehicle, a modified people mover, and are expected to inspect Endeavour to see how it weathered re-entry in a short while.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s wrap up of today?s landing. A post-landing update on NASA TV is expected at around 1 p.m. EDT. A press conference with Endeavour?s astronauts is slated for about 3 p.m. EDT.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Touchdown! Endeavour Lands Safely in Florida
31 July 2009 10:48 a.m. EDT

Shuttle Endeavour and crew of seven astronauts has safely landed at Florida's Kennedy Space Center, following a 16-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). After a journey of 6.5 million miles, Endeavour touched down on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT) to complete its 23rd space voyage, the 127th space shuttle mission and the 29th mission to the ISS.

Veteran commander Mark Polansky and rookie pilot Doug Hurley maneuvered the Orbiter on its fiery plunge through the atmosphere and hour-long free-fall descent back to Earth, guiding the 214,707-pound space plane to its powerless landing on the 3-mile long paved runway. All spacecraft systems performed as expected.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s wrap up of today?s landing.

A convoy of landing support vehicles is now approaching Endeavour and technicians will soon begin to 'safe' the vehicle ? purging the spacecraft of its toxic propellants ? to be followed by the astronauts' egress and traditional 'walkaround' of the spacecraft.

Endeavour's 16-day STS-127 mission to the International Space Station featured five spacewalks, completed construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and attached a platform that will allow experiments to be exposed to space. The ISS now measures 335 feet ? more than the length of an American football field.

In addition to Polansky and Hurley, the STS-127 crew included Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette and NASA mission specialists Christopher J. Cassidy, Thomas H. Marshburn and David A. Wolf. Endeavour also returned Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata to Earth after a long-duration stay on the ISS. During re-entry and descent, Wakata was strapped into a special recumbent seat in the orbiter?s middeck, keeping him in a reclined position during the ride home to ease his body?s re-acclimation to gravity. The mission also delivered astronaut Timothy L. Kopra to the space station to serve as flight engineer and science officer.

- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Endeavour on Final Approach
31 July 2009 10:35 a.m. EDT

Shuttle Endeavour is crossing over Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico as it continues its long, gliding approach to Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Touchdown at the Shuttle Landing Facility is scheduled for 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT). Mission Control confirms all spacecraft systems are performing as expected.

The Orbiter will soon enter U.S. airspace over the Florida's southwest coast, descending over the Everglades, eastern Lake Okeechobee and up Florida's east coast on its final approach for landing. Commander Mark Polansky and pilot Doug Hurley are piloting the 214,707-pound spaceplane through a series of turns and banking maneuvers to slow the vehicle and expend excess energy in preparation for its powerless landing, culminating with left overhead turn of 210 degrees over the ocean to precisely align with Runway 15 ? the northwest-to-southeast landing strip.

?Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Endeavour Re-entering Earth's Atmosphere  
31 July 2009 10:16 a.m. EDT

Shuttle Endeavour is now transitioning from spacecraft to aircraft, encountering the upper fringes of Earth's atmosphere - known as 'Entry Interface' - at about 400,000 feet above the southern Pacific Ocean as it begins its fiery descent and a long, gliding approach to the 3-mile long landing strip at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Touchdown on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility is scheduled for 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT). All spacecraft systems are performing as expected.

With the heat on its Thermal Protection System tiles building to 2,500 degrees F, Endeavour will be flying south to north, across Central America, Costa Rica and Nicaragua; crossing over Cuba; entering U.S. airspace above Florida's southwest coast; finally descending over the Everglades, eastern Lake Okeechobee and up Florida's east coast on its final approach for landing.

Polansky and Hurley will pilot the 214,707-pound space plane through a series of turns and banking maneuvers, known as 'roll reversals', to slow the vehicle for its powerless touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


 Endeavour Heading Home to Florida  
31 July 2009 9:44 a.m. EDT

Shuttle Endeavour has ignited its braking rockets to start a fiery plunge through Earth's atmosphere and a long, gliding descent to the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. Touchdown is scheduled for 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT).

Commander Mark Polansky and pilot Doug Hurley just completed a 2-minute, 51-second firing of Endeavour's twin Orbital Maneuvering System engines that began at 9:41 a.m. EDT (1341 GMT) to reduce the shuttle's velocity sufficiently to drop it out of orbit and begin the hour-long free-fall descent back to Earth. The de-orbit burn slowed Endeavour's velocity by about 303 feet/second (approx. 207 miles/hour).

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

Weather conditions are quite good for the spaceplane's return to Florida with scattered and broken clouds and a slight headwind blowing straight down Runway 15 ? the northwest to southeast landing strip. A band of offshore rain showers is remaining outside of the mandated 30-nautical mile perimeter around NASA?s Shuttle Landing Facility to support a landing on this morning's first opportunity.

Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts will first encounter the upper fringes of the atmosphere at about 400,000 feet above the southern Pacific Ocean, flying south to north across Central America, Cuba and then descending down the center of the Florida peninsula on its final approach for landing.

NASA chief astronaut Steve Lindsey has been flying landing approaches in the Shuttle Training Aircraft ? a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulates the shuttle's handling characteristics ? evaluating the weather conditions that Endeavour will encounter on its approach and landing.

- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


?Endeavour Aims For Florida Landing
31 July 2009 9:22 a.m. EDT

Space shuttle Endeavour has been cleared to land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. Endeavour commander Mark Polansky and pilot Doug Hurley have been given the 'Go' to initiate the de-orbit burn at 9:41:10 a.m. EDT (1341:10 GMT), resulting in a 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT) touchdown on its primary landing strip at the Florida spaceport.

Spaceflight Meteorology Group forecasters have convinced Entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney that an offshore band of rain showers to the southeast of the Kennedy Space Center will remain outside of the mandated 30-nautical mile perimeter around NASA?s Shuttle Landing Facility to support a landing on this morning's first opportunity.

Endeavour's twin Orbital Maneuvering System engines will be fired for 2 minutes and 51 seconds to slow the Orbiter's velocity sufficiently to begin its fiery descent through Earth's atmosphere and a gliding approach to the 3-mile long landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

Flight controllers earlier gave the STS-127 crew the go-ahead to begin "fluid loading," a process where the astronauts drink large quantities of fluids to rehydrate themselves in preparation for their return to Earth's gravity. The seven astronauts have donned their bright orange launch-and-entry pressure suits and taken their seats in preparation for landing.

NASA chief astronaut Steve Lindsey is flying landing approaches in the Shuttle Training Aircraft ? a specially modified Gulfstream jet that simulates the shuttle's handling characteristics ? monitoring the offshore showers and evaluating the weather conditions that Endeavour would encounter on its approach and landing to the Kennedy Space Center.

- Roger Guillemette

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


NASA Eyes Weather for Shuttle Landing
31 July 2009 9:25 a.m. EDT

NASA is still watching the weather for today?s planned landing of the space shuttle Endeavour. Flight director Bryan Lunney must decide before the planned 9:41 a.m. EDT (1341 GMT) deorbit burn if conditions are good enough for today?s landing at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT). A few showers offshore and southeast of the Kennedy Space Center.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Astronauts Prepare for Landing
31 July 2009 9:00 a.m. EDT

Endeavour?s seven astronauts are gearing up for their planned landing in Florida today at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT). Mission Control gave the astronauts the go ahead to begin drinking large amounts of fluids, called ?fluid loading,? which is a measure used to help ease their return to Earth?s gravity. A weather update is expected shortly.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


NASA Tweaks Deorbit Plan for Shuttle
31 July 2009 8:00 a.m. EDT

Mission Control has given Endeavour?s astronauts an updated deorbit engine burn time, pushing it up by one minute to 9:41 a.m. EDT (1341 GMT) to align the shuttle for its planned landing at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT).? The? burn with Endeaovour?s twin Orbital Maneuvering System engines will slow Endeavour, pushing it out of orbit and back down to Earth. Meanwhile, NASA?s chief astronaut Steve Lindsey has taken off from Endeavour?s runway in a modified Gulfstream jet that can mimic a shuttle?s landing approach. He will check the weather conditions around the Cape Canaveral, Fla., runway, including a line of thunderstorms nearby that has piqued Mission Control?s interest.

Here?s a rundown of today?s major landing events:

9:41 a.m. ? Deorbit Burn
10:35 a.m. ? MILA C-band radar acquisition of Endeavour
10:48 a.m. ? Landing in Florida
Landing+2 hours ? Post-landing crew conference
Landing+4.5 hours ? Endeavour crew conference (may be canceled)

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


NASA Optimistic for Shuttle Landing
31 July 2009 7:30 a.m. EDT

Mission Control just gave the Endeavour astronauts the latest weather update, which still predicts a very slight chance of rain showers at their Florida runway for today?s 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT) landing. But NASA is optimistic the weather ? which looks good right now ? will hold.

?Still holding to a slight chance of rain showers and we?re working on that for you,? NASA astronaut Alan Poindexter radioed Endeavour from Mission Control.

?That sounds outstanding,? Endeavour skipper Mark Polansky called back.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Astronauts Close Shuttle Cargo Bay
31 July 2009 7:18 a.m. EDT

Astronauts have closed the shell-like payload bay doors in anticipation of today?s planned 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT) landing at NASA?s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. They have moved the shuttle into a new orientation to provide better communication with Mission Control and will soon switch Endeavour?s onboard computers into the OPS-3 software mode for landing. While in space, the shuttle was working under an OPS-2 mode.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Crew ?Go? to Close Payload Bay
31 July 2009 7:02 a.m. EDT

Mission Control has given the seven astronauts aboard shuttle Endeavour the go ahead to close the shuttle?s shell-like payload bay doors, a sign that entry flight director Bryan Lunney is confident in today?s chances for a Florida landing. Endeavour is slated to land at 10:48 a.m. EDT (1448 GMT).

Here?s a rundown of today?s major landing events:

2:02 a.m. ? Crew wake-up call
5:43 a.m. ? Deorbit work begins
7:03 a.m. ? Payload bay door closing.
9:42 a.m. ? Deorbit Burn
10:35 a.m. ? MILA C-band radar acquisition of Endeavour
10:48 a.m. ? Landing in Florida
Landing+2 hours ? Post-landing crew conference
Landing+4.5 hours ? Endeavour crew conference (may be canceled)

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Endeavour Astronauts Begin Last Day in Space
31 July 2009 5:15 a.m. EDT

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour have begun what they expect will be their last day in space as they prepare to land in Florida and wrap up their 16-day mission to the International Space Station. Mission Control roused the astronauts at 2:03 a.m. EDT (0603 GMT) with the song ?Beautiful Day? by U2, a song chosen for mission specialist Tom Marshburn.

?It looks like it will be a beautiful day, both in space and in Florida,? Mission Control said. ?We hope to see you safely on the ground there in just a few hours.?

?We are looking forward to getting back and seeing our families,? said Marshburn. ?It?s been just great working with everyone. We will miss certain parts of the flight for sure. Thanks for the words.? Today is Flight Day 17 of Endeavour?s 16-day mission to the International Space Station.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s landing options for Endeavour.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Endeavour Cleared for Friday Landing
30 July 2009 2:36 p.m. EDT

The space shuttle Endeavour?s vital heat shield has received a clean bill of health as its astronaut crew prepared to for a planned Friday landing in Florida. Analysis of a heat shield inspection performed by the crew on Wednesday found Endeavour in good shape.

Meanwhile, Endeavour astronauts have successfully deployed two small satellite experiments. Early Thursday morning, they deployed the two-satellite DRAGONsat as part of an experiment demonstrate autonomous rendezvous and docking technologies, as well as global positioning systems. Later, they deployed Ande2, which consists of a pair of 19-inch spheres that have different masses and will be used to measure the density of Earth?s atmosphere.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at returning Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Deploys Small DragonSat Satellites
30 July 2009 8:45 a.m. EDT

Endeavour shuttle astronauts have deployed DragonSat, the first of two sets of small satellites they will set loose today from the shuttle?s payload bay. They jettisoned DragonSat at 8:34 a.m. EDT (1234 GMT). The experiment ? the Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator Satellite (DragonSat) ? actually consists of two picosatellites, the AggieSat2 ? from Texas A&M University and Bevo 1 from the University of Texas at Austin.

They are part of a NASA experiment to demonstrate autonomous rendezvous and docking technologies, as well as global positioning systems. Click here to read more.

Click here for a look at SPACE.com?s look at today?s work in space.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Systems Checked Ahead of Landing
30 July 2009 8:25 a.m. EDT

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour test-fired the spacecraft?s 44 reaction control thrusters and checked its flight control surfaces in preparation for tomorrow?s planned landing in Florida. One thruster did not respond properly and has been taken out of rotation, but should pose no problem, NASA said.

Meanwhile, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata is gearing up for his return to Earth on Endeavour after 4 1/2 months in space. Mission Control roused Endeavour?s crew at 2:02 a.m. EDT (0602 GMT) with the song ?I Got You Babe? by Sonny and Cher, a tune selected for Wakata. Today is Flight Day 16 of Endeavour?s 16-day mission to the space station.

Click here for a look at Wakata?s mission in space.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Astronauts Finish Shuttle Inspection
29 July 2009 10:39 a.m. EDT

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour finished their late inspection of the shuttle?s heat shield ahead of schedule and are now taking a break before stowing the 50-foot (15-meter) inspection pole used for the scan. Engineers on Earth will analyze the data from the survey to decide if the shuttle is healthy for its planned landing on Friday. Meanwhile, astronauts aboard the International Space Station have opened the hatches to their new cargo ship, Progress 34, which arrived earlier this morning.

Mission Control roused Endeavour?s crew at 3:03 a.m. EDT (0703 GMT) with the song ?Yellow? by Coldplay, a tune selected for shuttle pilot Doug Hurley.

Click here for a wrap up of today?s work in space.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Endeavour Leaves ISS
28 July 2009 3:15 p.m. EDT

The space shuttle Endeavour has fired its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engines to begin leaving the orbital neighborhood of the International Space Station. The shuttle undocked at 1:26 p.m. EDT (1726 GMT), as both spacecraft were flying over the Indian Ocean, to end 11 days of joint work to add a new porch and spare parts to the station, as well as deliver a new crewmember. A second OMS burn is slated for later today to put more distance between the two spacecraft.

Click here for a wrap up of today?s undocking.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.


Shuttle Endeavour Flies Around Station
28 July 2009 2:30 p.m. EDT

Shuttle pilot Doug Hurley is deftly guiding Endeavour through its victory lap around the International Space Station. After nearly lapping the space station, he is about to pull up ahead of the outpost to complete the maneuver, known as a fly-around. Cameras aboard the shuttle and station have been beaming back stunning views of each other.? You can watch the event live by clicking here.

The shuttle undocked at 1:26 p.m. EDT (1726 GMT).

Click here for a look at today?s undocking.

-- Tariq Malik

NASA is broadcasting Endeavour?s STS-127 mission to the International Space Station live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com?s NASA TV feed or follow the NASA TV link at the upper left on this page.