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 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 - 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.
From pilot's point of view: Atlantis seconds before touchdown - Credit: NASA TV
The space shuttle Discovery landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Space Shuttle Discovery landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a 15-day mission and 238 orbits of Earth. Discovery’s main gear touched down at 13:08:35 GMT, followed by the nose gear at 13:08:47 GMT and wheelstop at 13:09:33 GMT.
The space shuttle Discovery is seen as it lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Discovery and the STS-131 mission crew, Commander Alan G. Poindexter, Pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and Mission Specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki returned from their mission to the International Space Station. Photo credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
STS-131 was the 131st space shuttle mission, the 38th for Discovery and the 33rd shuttle mission to the International Space Station. It was the second flight of 2010. It is Discovery’s penultimate mission; its last flight is STS-133, targeted for Sept. 16.
Homecoming The space shuttle Discovery is seen as it lands at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Discovery and the STS-131 mission crew--Commander Alan G. Poindexter, pilot James P. Dutton Jr. and mission specialists Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Rick Mastracchio, Stephanie Wilson, Clayton Anderson and Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki--returned from their mission to the International Space Station - Credit: Naoki KASHIWADANI
Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, unveiled the first commercial spacecraft SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and its mothership WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) to the public at a ceremony in Mojave dessert in California. Watch the video from the unveiling party below.
SpaceShipTwo being unveiled to the public in a ceremony in Mojave desert in California
Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceshipOne (SS1) designer, Burt Rutan, unveiled the first commercial spacecraft SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and its mothership WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) to the public at a ceremony in Mojave dessert in California. After the success of SpaceShipOne, that completed the first privately funded human spaceflight on June 21, 2004, and five years of waiting, SpaceShipTwo is now ready to take over 300 registered passengers for their first ride into space.
SpaceShipTwo and VMS Eve (WhiteKnightTwo) - Source: Virgin Galactic
The governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, speaks at the Virgin Galactic ceremony in Mojave dessert.
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 chute deployed - Source: NASA
Nose gear touchdown at 14:44:36 GMT - Source: NASA
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
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
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
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
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