Shuttle crew prepares for landing

Aug. 7, 2005 at 9:38 PM

HOUSTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery are preparing for a pre-dawn landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Crew members spent Sunday testing the space shuttle's three hydraulic systems and its aerosurfaces and steering jets.

"I think Discovery is in absolutely great shape," said Discovery Commander Eileen Collins in a news conference Sunday. "I'm pretty confident about re-entry, I'm thinking about the landing."

It will be NASA's first shuttle landing since the 2003 Columbia disaster that killed seven astronauts.

Discovery has two opportunities to land at the Kennedy Space Center on Monday. The first begins with a 3 minute, 7 second deorbit burn of the Orbital Maneuvering System engines at 3:40 a.m., followed by landing at 4:47 a.m. EDT.

In the event weather prevents landing on that first opportunity, a second is available, with deorbit burn at 5:15 a.m. and a 6:22 a.m. EDT landing.

NASA said weather forecasters predict favorable conditions with light and variable winds and a slight chance of showers in the vicinity of the three-mile-long landing strip.

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