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

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.

Space Shuttle Atlantis launched successfully

November 16, 2009 19:39 by scibuff

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

The milestones of STS-129 Space Shuttle Atlantis launch (reverse order):

~ 19:37:43 GMT @ T+09:45 – Nominal MECO, OMS-1 not required.

– 19:36:31 GMT @ T+08:33 – External Tank (ET) separation.

External Tank (ET) Separation - Source: NASA TV

External Tank (ET) Separation - Source: NASA TV

– 19:36:20 GMT @ T+08:22 –  The Main Engine Cut-off (MECO), zero thrust (at T+08:35). Atlantis has reach the planned orbit and is schedule to dock with the International Space Station on Flight Day 3.

– 19:35:13 GMT @ T+07:05 – Single engine press 104 – Atlantis can now reach planned orbit on a single engine at 104.5% throttle in case of two main engine failure.

– 19:35:05 GMT @ T+06:57 – Nominal shut down plan. Go for the plus X, and go for the pitch – The shuttle has can reach the planned elliptical orbit (before circularization) and without no a correction by the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) is necessary (OMS-1 not required). After the External Tank (ET) separation (SEP) the orbiter’s Reaction Control System (RCS) will execute a negative Z (in the direction up through the roof) translation maneuver to move the orbiter away from the ET. The “go for the pitch” refers to the ET Photo maneuver, which is a pitch around of the orbiter that allows the crew to take pictures of the tank out of the overhead windows.

– 19:34:48 GMT @ T+06:40 – Press to MECO (Main Engine Cut-off) and Single Engine Zaragoza 104 – Atlantis can now reach planned orbit in case of a single SSME failure and the Zaragoza TAL site on a single engine at 104.5% throttle.

– 19:33:33 GMT @ T+05:25 – Single Engine OPS-3 – Atlantis could now reach the designated TAL site with a single engine at Full Power Level (FPL), i.e 109% throttle, should two of the SSME’s fail.

– 19:32:57 GMT @ T+04:49 – Press to ATO select Zaragoza – Atlantis could now reach a safe 195 by 157 km orbit with two Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) throttled at Typical Mission Power Level (104.5%) in case of a single SSME failure. Should one of the engines fail the crew could execute the Abort To Orbit (ATO) maneuver (in case of TAL abort, the landing facility in Zaragoza, Spain would be used).

– 19:31:58 GMT @ T+03:50 – Negative Return – Atlantis has used too much fuel and is traveling too fast, too high and is too far to return to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for a potential Return To Launch Site (RTLS) abort.

19:30:33 GMT @ T+02:25 – 2 engine Moron. Atlantis can now reach the Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site in Moron in the case of a single engine failure.

– 19:30:12 GMT @ T+02:04 – Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) separation. Atlantis is at the altitude of 45 km, 40 km down range from the KSC, traveling at 5800 km/h (Mach 4).

Solid Rocket Booster (SBR) Separation - Source: NASA TV

Solid Rocket Booster (SBR) Separation - Source: NASA TV

~19:28:53 GMT @ ~T+00:45 – The shuttle passed Mach 1 while the engines were throttling down before Max-Q (the point of the greatest dynamic pressure)

Space Shuttle Atlantis moments after the liftoff completing the Roll Maneuver - Source: NASA TV

Space Shuttle Atlantis moments after the liftoff completing the Roll Maneuver - Source: NASA TV

– 19:28:08 GMT @ T-00:00 – Lift-off. Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) ignition and lift-off of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-129 (ISS assembly flight ULF3) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

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

– 19:28:01 GMT @ T-00:06.6 (and 06.48, 06.36) – The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) start.

Space Shuttle Main Engines start - Source: NASA TV

Space Shuttle Main Engines start - Source: NASA TV

– 19:27:59 GMT @ T-00:09 – The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen exhausted into the main engine nozzles during the start sequence to prevent small, but potentially dangerous, explosions when the main engines ignite.

The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen exhausted into the main engine nozzles - Source: NASA TV

The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen exhausted into the main engine nozzles - Source: NASA TV

– 19:27:53 GMT @ T-00:15 – The Sound Suppression Water System has been activated to protect Atlantis and the launch pad from acoustical energy and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch.

The Sound Suppression Water System has been activated to protect Atlantis and the launch pad from acoustical energy and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch - Source: NASA TV

The Sound Suppression Water System has been activated to protect Atlantis and the launch pad from acoustical energy and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch - Source: NASA TV

– 19:27:37 GMT @ T-00:31 – Auto-sequence start. Atlantis’s on-board computers have primary control of all vehicle’s critical functions.

19:19:10 GMT: The countdown clock resumes at T-9min and counting.

17:32 GMT: Shuttle Atlantis’ hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the six STS-129 astronauts are strapped into their seats

15:59 GMT: The countdown clock resumes at T-3hr and counting.

The countdown clock resumes at T-3hrs - Source: NASA TV

The countdown clock resumes at T-3hrs - Source: NASA TV

15:39 GMT: The STS-129 crew leaves the crew quarters at the Operations and Checkout Building and board the Astrovan to head to the Pad 39A.

STS-129 crew members, from left, Robert Satcher, Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik, Leland Melvin, Pilot Barry Wilmore, and Mission Commander Charlie Hobaugh stop and pose for a photograph before getting into the Astrovan and heading to launch pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 - Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

STS-129 crew members, from left, Robert Satcher, Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik, Leland Melvin, Pilot Barry Wilmore, and Mission Commander Charlie Hobaugh stop and pose for a photograph before getting into the Astrovan and heading to launch pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 - Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls

15:33 GMT: Final inspection team is on the pad looking for ice & frost buildup on the External Tank

12:51 GMT: The shuttle tanking went into a stable replenish and the countdown entered a 2.5 hour long inbuilt hold at T-3 hours.

11:50 GMT: The liquid hydrogen tanking has reached 98% and will transition from fast-full to top-off at 2700 l per minute.

10:42 GMT: Liquid oxygen tanking changes to fast-fill mode at almost 6,000 l per minute. Liquid hydrogen is also in fast-fill phase adding almost 32,000 liters every minute into the external tank (ET)

10:33 GMT: Launch teams began liquid oxygen tanking in the slow-fill phase adding 1,200 liters every minute.

10:03 GMT: Fueling of the External Tank began with liquid hydrogen (at 20K) started in the slow-fill mode and the liquid oxygen (at 90.188 K) will follow at 10:33 GMT.

Atlantis is home

June 2, 2009 23:33 by scibuff

Space Shuttle Atlantis, mounted atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), a modified Boeing 747-100, finished its 2-day-long 4,000-km cross-country journey by landing at 22:53 UTC in NASA Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) about 3.2km northwest of the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida.

The shuttle’s piggyback ride started yesterday, at 15:03 UTC at Edwards Air Force Base in California and took the shuttle to the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, the Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas and the Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi.

The Flight Track Map of the SCA

The Flight Track Map of the SCA between the Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi and the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida - Source: FlightAware.com

Reporters and enthusiasts awaiting the shuttle "landing" - Source: NASA TV

Reporters and enthusiasts awaiting the shuttle "landing" - Source: NASA TV

Atlantis flying around Endeavour at Pad 39A - Source: NASA TV

Atlantis flying around Endeavour at Pad 39A - Source: NASA TV

The SCA with Atlantis flies over the runway before a 180 U-turn - Source: NASA TV

The SCA with Atlantis flies over the runway before a 180 U-turn - Source: NASA TV

The SCA descends towards the runway - Source: NASA TV

The SCA descends towards the runway - Source: NASA TV

Touchdown - Source: NASA TV

Touchdown - Source: NASA TV

For the full story of Atlantis’ flight home visit NASA Shuttle Ferry Flights website.

The next Atlantis mission is planned for November 2009 to the International Space Station (ISS). It will be 160th American manned space flight and 31st flight of the space shuttle Atlantis.