On Thursday, June 21, the space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to complete a 13-day mission to the International Space Station with a landing in Florida. The STS-117 mission increased the station’s power capability and delivered a new station crew member.
NASA flight directors will evaluate weather conditions at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida before permitting Atlantis to return to Earth. Thursday’s landing opportunities at Kennedy are at 1:54 p.m. and 3:29 p.m. EDT. The backup landing sites at Edwards Air Force Base in California and White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico will not be considered Thursday.
Two hours after landing, NASA officials will hold a briefing to discuss the STS-117 mission. The participants are: NASA Associate Administrator Rex Geveden, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier, and NASA Space Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach.
After touchdown, the astronauts will undergo initial physical examinations and meet with their families. Some crew members are expected to hold a news conference six hours after returning to Earth.
If weather prevents a Kennedy landing Thursday, NASA will activate backup landing sites for Friday.