Shuttle set for Friday landing

Houston (TX) – NASA says the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour have completed checks on the orbiter and so far found no damage to its ceramic tiles, making a landing tomorrow (Friday) look likely.

Detailed inspections to see if the shuttle has been struck by any debris during the last two weeks it spent docked with the International Space Station will be completed later today.

Endeavour’s first landing attempt at the Cape is scheduled for 10:48 am EST Friday. There is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms within 30 nautical miles of the shuttle’s three-mile landing strip that could prevent an on-time landing, which could mean a second attempt at 12:23 pm.

Before returning, Endeavour’s crew will also launch two small experimental satellites from the shuttle’s payload bay.  DRAGONSat will test automated rendezvous and docking capabilities using Global Positioning System data and a Department of Defense payload named ANDE-2 will measure atmospheric density and composition in low Earth orbit.