The six astronauts on space shuttle Endeavour got a special wakeup call Monday to kick off a day devoted to preparing the orbiter and themselves for their return to Earth on Wednesday.
Their wakeup call, which came at 5:57 p.m. CDT on Monday, featured an original composition.
"That song was the second place winner in the wakeup music contest by The Plunketts, called "Dreams You Give," radioed STS-134 commander Mark Kelly. "It received something like over 600,000 votes."
"So congratulations to Brian Plunkett from Halfway, Missouri," said Kelly.
More than a million votes were cast in the shuttle program's original song contest to choose two songs from among 10 finalists to be played to the astronauts; the top vote-getter will be played for the crew on Monday.
At 8:06 p.m., the crew began their day talking about their flight in a series of media interviews with ABC News, CBS News, CNN, NBC News, and Fox News Radio.
An hour later Kelly, pilot Greg Johnson and flight engineer Roberto Vittori are scheduled to take their places on Endeavour's flight deck and work with the entry flight control team on a routine pre-entry checkout of the shuttle's flight control systems and reaction control system jets.
Most of the rest of the crew's day will be spent packing items throughout the cabin in preparation for their planned landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 1:35 a.m. Wednesday.
At 11:26 tonight the six crew members will also take time for a tribute to Endeavour, speaking about the history of the youngest space shuttle and the work accomplished by its crews during its 25 trips to space.
Endeavour's astronauts spent much of their day preparing for their return to Earth. Their first of two landing opportunities at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida is on Wednesday at 1:35 a.m. CDT.
Commander Mark Kelly, pilot Greg Johnson, and flight engineer Roberto Vittori powered up and checked out the flight control system, testing the elevons (wing flaps) and rudder that will control Endeavour's flight once it enters the Earth's atmosphere.
They then test fired the reaction control system thrusters that control the shuttle's attitude before it reaches the atmosphere.
Meanwhile, mission specialists Mike Fincke, Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff stowed items in the cabin for re-entry. Each crew member also got about an hour's exercise.
After lunch, the astronauts did a 15-minute vision exam, and all gathered for a 30-minute deorbit briefing.
The weather for landing is "looking good" after earlier forecasts predicted crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility nearing the 12 knot limit.
"Weather appears to be getting a little bit better," Mission Control told the crew. "Right now, the forecast for end of mission at KSC says scattered [clouds] at 2500 feet and winds are 6 [knots] peak 10, with a crosswind of 10 knots. Depending on which runway, a head or tailwind of 3 [knots]."
"Those winds are lower than the original forecast," capcom Barry "Butch" Wilmore radioed to Endeavour. "Right now, the end of mission weather is looking good."
Kelly and Johnson spent about 30 minutes with the RAMBO 2 (Ram Burn Observations) experiment, firing Endeavour's orbital maneuvering system engines while Department of Defense on-orbit assets imaged the activity. The experiment is aimed at better understanding engine plumes.
Near the end of their day, Fincke and Vittori stowed Endeavour's Ku-band antenna in the shuttle's payload bay. The high bandwidth antenna carries the television signal, so that activity ends live TV from Endeavour.
The crew is scheduled to begin its sleep period at 8:56 a.m. to wake for their landing day at 4:56 p.m. Tuesday.