Space Shuttle Atlantis is headed for the ISS after almost two years.

November 16, 2009 19:40 by scibuff

Update 2: Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-129 mission to the International Space Station:

Launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Update 1: Check out some amazing launch photos in the STS-129 Space Shuttle Atlantis gallery.

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

November 16, 2009 at 19:28:08 GMT, NASA successfully launched the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its 31st flight and the 31st shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Atlantis is scheduled to dock with the ISS on November 18, after a two-day chase in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO). After nearly two years, orbiter Atlantis is set to make a return to the ISS, following the extremely successful flagship mission (STS-125) to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in May 2009.

Solid Rocket Booster Ignition and Liftoff of Space Shuttle Atlantis - Source: NASA TV

Solid Rocket Booster Ignition and Liftoff of Space Shuttle Atlantis - Source: NASA TV

Liftoff Space Shuttle Atlantis - Source: NASA TV

Liftoff Space Shuttle Atlantis - Source: NASA TV

Six crew members of STS-129, commanded by NASA veteran Charles O. Hobaugh (STS-104, STS-118), will stay in space 10 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes and land at the Kennedy Space Center at 14:43 GMT on November 27. STS-129 Pilot, Barry E.Wilmore, will be responsible for orbiter systems operations and will fly the orbiter during undocking and the flyaround. Mission Specialists Mike Foreman (STS-123), Robert L.Satcher Jr., and Randy Bresnik will combine for a total of 31 hours and 45 minutes during 3 planed spacewalks (EVA) on flight days 4, 6, and 8. Mission Specialist Leland D. Melvin (STS-122) will operate the robotic arm during EVA-1 and EVA-3.

STS-129 Crew: Pictured on the front row are astronauts Charles O. Hobaugh (left), commander; and Barry E. Wilmore, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland Melvin, Mike Foreman, Robert L. Satcher Jr. and Randy Bresnik, all mission specialists - Source: NASA

STS-129 Crew: Pictured on the front row are astronauts Charles O. Hobaugh (left), commander; and Barry E. Wilmore, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland Melvin, Mike Foreman, Robert L. Satcher Jr. and Randy Bresnik, all mission specialists - Source: NASA

The STS-129 mission carries two ExPRESS Logistic Carries (ELC’s) , a new Materials on International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) carrier, an S-Band Antenna Sub-Assembly (SASA), 14 tons of important spare parts for electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, communications and robotics systems, additional equipment, supplies and scientific experiments.

S-Band Antenna and Support Assembly and Radio Frequency Group (RFG) - Source: NASA

S-Band Antenna and Support Assembly and Radio Frequency Group (RFG) - Source: NASA

At the end of the STS-129 mission, Atlantis will bring home Expedition 20 and 21 Flight engineer Nicole Stott (@Astro_Nicole), who will become the last astronaut who used the Space Shuttle for a lift to or from the station (as a member of the station’s Expedition crew).

Many of the missions Detailed Test Objectives (DTOs) are aimed to provide additional information for engineers working for the Constellation Program to developer requirements for the rocket and crew module.

Space shuttle Atlantis is seen on Launch Pad 39A of the NASA Kennedy Space Center shortly after the rotating service structure was rolled back - Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Space shuttle Atlantis is seen on Launch Pad 39A of the NASA Kennedy Space Center shortly after the rotating service structure was rolled back - Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The next mission to the ISS will be STS-130 (ISS assembly flight 20A), planned to launch on February 4, 2010 at 10:52 GMT by the Space Shuttle Endeavour.  The primary payloads will be the Tranquility module and the Cupola, a robotic control station with six windows around its sides and another in the center that provides a 360-degree view around the station

The next, and last scheduled, flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis will be the STS-132 (ISS assembly flight ULF4) scheduled for launch on May 14, 2010 at 19:28 GMT. The primary payload is scheduled to be the Russian Rassvet Mini-Research Module along with an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD) containing a radiator, airlock and a spare elbow for the European Robotic Arm for the Russian Multi-purpose Laboratory Module.

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Space Shuttle Atlantis launched successfully

[…] Update: See the mission details and more launch pictures in my STS-129 Space Shuttle Atlantis post. […]

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