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Possible shuttle landing may cause boom

Posted: May 22, 2009 9:22 p.m.
Updated: May 23, 2009 6:00 a.m.
The space shuttle Atlantis is now scheduled to land today at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida following its recent mission to repair the Hubble space telescope. However, poor weather conditions along the eastern coast of Florida have raised the likelihood of Atlantis ending its mission at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California.   

Should mission managers decide to land Atlantis at Edwards, a strong sonic boom could be generated along the shuttle’s route of descent along the California coastline about five to 10 minutes before landing. The area that might be affected by a sonic boom could extend over a wide area from just north of Los Angeles to south of San Luis Obispo, and then inland over portions of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and Kern Counties until the shuttle decelerates to subsonic speed over Edwards.

Landing opportunities Saturday at Edwards are at 7:47 a.m. and 9:25 a.m., both times Pacific. A final decision on whether to have the shuttle land at Kennedy or Edwards is not expected until early Saturday morning.

For further information, contact the NASA Dryden public affairs office at (661) 276-3449.


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