Atlantis is home

May 26, 2010 12:56 by scibuff

STS-132 Commander Ken Ham and his five crewmates: Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen, Mike Good and Piers Sellers are safely back on Earth after space shuttle Atlantis glided to a picture-perfect landing at NASA Kennedy Space Center - Source: NASA TV

Main Gear touchdown

Main Gear touchdown 12:48:11 GMT (MET 11d 18hr 28m 2s) - Credit: NASA TV

Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at the Shuttle Landing Facility (Runway 33) at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 11 days 18 hours 28 minutes and 2 seconds and 186 orbits of Earth. Atlantis’ main gear touched down at 12:48:11 GMT, followed by the nose gear at 12:48:21 GMT and the wheelstop at 12:49:18 GMT.

Nose Gear Down

Nose Gear Down - The Space Shuttle Atlantis lands on runway 33 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Wednesday, May 25, 2010 - Credit: NASA TV

STS-132 was the last scheduled mission of Atlantis. During its 32 missions and more than 25 years of service Space Shuttle Atlantis has carried more than 200 astronauts and flown almost 200 million kilometres. Atlantis lifted off on its maiden voyage on October 3, 1985, on mission 51-J. Later missions included the launch of the Magellan probe to Venus on STS-30 in May 1989, Galileo interplanetary probe to Jupiter on STS-34 in October 1989, the first shuttle docking to the Mir Space Station on STS-71 in June 1995 and the final Hubble servicing mission on STS-125 in May 2009.

Although STS-132 is the last scheduled flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the orbiter will be prepared for the possibility of a STS-335 Launch On Need (LON) mission, in the unlikely event that STS-134 suffers severe damage requiring a crew rescue. If LON is not required, Atlantis, her external tank, and her two solid rocket boosters will have been prepared to nearly flight-ready status but will not be used for flight. The potential STS-135 would use this prepared and paid-for hardware to fly a full operational mission. Mission planners anticipate STS-135 would fly four crew members and a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch could occur after STS-134, in early 2011. Because STS-135 would not have its own shuttle-based LON mission, two Russian Soyuz spacecraft would be used in the event a crew rescue is needed.

Pilot's point of view

From pilot's point of view: Atlantis seconds before touchdown - Credit: NASA TV

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