The space shuttle Endeavour is preparing its return from the International Space Station to Earth, where terrestrial weather is keeping Ground Control on its toes.
The six crew have spent the last 11 days fitting the so-called Tranquility Node extension and an observation dome to the ISS.
They are due to return at 04:16 Central European Time on Monday morning, if conditions allow. Norm Knight, the Entry Flight Director, explained that the landing may have to be delayed by a day:
“Tomorrow is going to be a very difficult weather day. We are going to play it by ear. Again, it is going to go down to the wire and if we don’t land tomorrow, we will safely waive off. We will look at our End-Of-Mission-Plus-One weather and try to get on the ground that day,” Knight told a press conference.
The new additions to the ISS were built in Italy for NASA by the European Space Agency at a cost of around 300 million euros. The 73 billion euro space station is now 98 per cent complete after 11 years work.