Atlantis is home

November 27, 2009 14:49 by scibuff

Update 1:

Streams of smoke trail from the main landing gear tires as space shuttle Atlantis touches down on Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 11 days in space, completing the 4.5-million-mile STS-129 mission on orbit 171. On STS-129, the crew delivered 14 tons of cargo to the International Space Station, including two ExPRESS Logistics Carriers containing spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired next year - Source: NASA/Jim Grossmann

Streams of smoke trail from the main landing gear tires as space shuttle Atlantis touches down on Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 11 days in space, completing the 4.5-million-mile STS-129 mission on orbit 171 - Source: NASA/Jim Grossmann

Today, at 14:44:23 GMT, the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed on runway 33 of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), 10 days, 19 hours, 16 minutes, and 13 seconds after the lift of on November 16 at 19:28:10 GMT, ending a flawless mission.

Space Shuttle Atlantis landing on runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center

Main gear touchdown at 14:44:23 GMT on runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center - Source: NASA

Main gear touchdown at 14:44:23 GMT on runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center - Source: NASA

Main chute deployed - Source: NASA

Main chute deployed - Source: NASA

Nose gear touchdown at 14:44:36 GMT - Source: NASA

Nose gear touchdown at 14:44:36 GMT - Source: NASA

The view of runway 33 from the shuttle cockpit - Source: NASA TV

The view of runway 33 from the shuttle cockpit - Source: NASA TV

Space Shuttle Atlatis during the 300-degree right-overhead Heading Alignment circle turn - Source: NASA TV

Space Shuttle Atlatis during the 300-degree right-overhead Heading Alignment circle turn - Source: NASA TV

At 10:52 GMT, STS-129 entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney and his entry team of flight controllers gave Atlatis a “go” to close the payload bay doors. The crew members suited up in their launch and entry suits at 12:14 GMT and strapped into their seats at 12:37 GMT. At 13:18 GMT the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM), astronaut Chris Ferguson (STS-115, STS-126), radioed Atlantis Commander Charlie Hobaugh that Atlantis was to “go” for the de-orbit burn.

Blue skies above the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center - Source: NASA TV

Blue skies above the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center - Source: NASA TV

Flying upside down and backwards more than 300 km above the Indian Ocean just west of Indonesia, the crew executed the deorbit burn lasting 2 minutes and 47 seconds with the Time of Ignition (TIG) at at 13:37:10 GMT, slowing the orbiter down by about 340 km/h. The orbiter encountered the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere at around 14:12 GMT, marking the beginning of the entry interface (EI). At the time of EI, the shuttle was flying at Mach 25 with its nose elevated 40 degrees at of about 120km over the south Pacific ocean.

STS-129 Long-range Landing Ground Track on orbit 171 - Source: NASA

STS-129 Long-range Landing Ground Track on orbit 171 - Source: NASA

During the STS-129 mission’s (ISS assembly flight ULF3) 3 extra-vehicular activities (EVA’s), Atlantis crew installed the S-band Antenna Sub-Assembly (SASA), the GATOR (Grappling Adaptor to On-Orbit Railing) bracket to the Columbus laboratory, High Pressure Gas Tank (HPGT) on the Quest airlock, the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 2 (ELC-2), deployed the S3 outboard Payload Attachment System, relocated the Floating Potential Measurement Unit, removed a pair of micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) shields from outside the airlock and strapped them to the External Stowage Platform #2, and shut down and packed the failed Urine Processor Assembly/Distillation Assembly (UPA DA).

The Canadarm2 or the Space Station Remote Manipulator System mates the Express Logistics Carrier (ELC) 2 to the Zenith / Outboard Payload Attachment System (PAS) on the S3 Truss aboard the International Space Station, as controlled by Atlantis and station crews in the shirt sleeve environment of the orbital outpost - Source: NASA

The Canadarm2 or the Space Station Remote Manipulator System mates the Express Logistics Carrier (ELC) 2 to the Zenith / Outboard Payload Attachment System (PAS) on the S3 Truss aboard the International Space Station, as controlled by Atlantis and station crews in the shirt sleeve environment of the orbital outpost - Source: NASA

EVA 3 marked the 230th conducted by U.S. astronauts, the 136th in support of Space Station assembly and maintenance, totaling 849 hours, 18 minutes and the 108th spacewalk out of the space station, totaling 662 hours, 3 minutes.

Atlantis brought home Expedition 20 and 21 Flight engineer Nicole Stott (@Astro_Nicole) (item number 914), who has become last of the shuttle rotating expedition crew members (ShRECs). She spent 87 days aboard the International Space Station and 91 days in space, which was apparently close enough to earn her NASA’s “100 Days In Space” patch, designed by astronaut Andy Thomas in 2004.

Tuesday, at 1500 GMT, European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne handed over command of the station to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams (@Astro_Jeff) in the. De Winne and Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk are scheduled to leave the station for return to Earth in a Soyuz capsule on November 30.

The next scheduled space shuttle mission is the STS-130 (ISS assembly flight 20A), targeted to launch on February 4, 2010 at 10:52 GMT, will be the 161st American manned space flight, the 32nd shuttle mission to the ISS and the 24th flight of the space shuttle Endeavour. The primary payloads are 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.

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-129 crew portrait. Pictured on the front row are astronauts Charlie Hobaugh (left), commander; and Barry Wilmore, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland Melvin, Mike Foreman, Robert Satcher and Randy Bresnik, all mission specialists - Source: NASA

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-129 crew portrait. Pictured on the front row are astronauts Charlie Hobaugh (left), commander; and Barry Wilmore, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland Melvin, Mike Foreman, Robert Satcher and Randy Bresnik, all mission specialists - Source: NASA

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