Atlantis launched on the last flight into space

May 14, 2010 18:24 by scibuff

Update 4: Official NASA launch footage:

The six-member crew of STS-132 began their 12-day mission to the International Space Station with the May 14 liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis at 18:20 UTC from NASA

Update 3: Launch photo in HD

Space shuttle Atlantis lifts-off of Pad 39A

Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station at 18:20 UTC on May 14 - Credit: NASA

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis - Credit: NASA/KSC

Update 2: Visit the STS-132 gallery to see a great collection of Atlantis launch photos.

Update 1: Check out the launch timeline for launch milestones and more photos.

May 14, 2010 at 18:20:09 UTC, NASA successfully launched the Space Shuttle Atlantis on its 32nd  flight – the 34th shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS). STS-132 is the final scheduled flight for Atlantis. It is also the first US spaceflight since STS-97 to only have veteran astronauts (astronauts who have flown at least one previous mission) on board. Six crew members of STS-132, commanded by NASA astronaut and US Navy captain Kenneth “Hock” Todd Ham (STS-124), will stay in space 11 Days 18 Hours 23 Minutes and land at the Kennedy Space Center on May 26 12:44 (UTC time). Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman (STS-123, Expedition 16, Expedition 17, STS-124), Michael Good (STS-125) and Steve Bowen (STS-126) will spend a total of 19.5 hours outside the station on flight days 4, 6 and 8.

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis on its last scheduled flight into space - Credit: NASA TV

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 mission to the International Space Station - Credit: NASA TV

Atlantis’ 12-day mission will deliver the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 that will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. MRM-1, also known as Rassvet (dawn in Russian), will be permanently attached to the bottom port of the station’s Zarya module. MRM-1 will carry important hardware on its exterior including a radiator, airlock and a European robotic arm. Atlantis also will deliver additional station hardware stored inside a cargo carrier.

Crew of STS-132

Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, these six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-132 crew portrait. Pictured clockwise are NASA astronauts Ken Ham (bottom), commander; Garrett Reisman and Michael Good, both mission specialists; Tony Antonelli, pilot; Piers Sellers and Steve Bowen both mission specialists - Credit: NASA

Three spacewalks are planned to stage spare components outside the station. On flight day 4, Reisman and Bowen will install a spare space-to-ground Ku-band antenna on the station’s truss, or backbone. Then they will install a new tool platform on Dextre. The spacewalkers will break the torque on bolts holding batteries in place on the truss, in preparation for their removal and replacement on the second and third spacewalks. Battery preparation work was deferred from STS-131 to this flight.

Garrett Reisman on an EVA during STS-123

Astronaut Garrett Reisman, Expedition 16 flight engineer, participates in the STS-123 mission’s first scheduled session of extravehicular activity as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station - Credit: NASA

On flight day 6, Bowen and Good will remove and replace three of the six batteries on the port truss to store electricity from the solar arrays on that truss. The used batteries will be installed on the cargo carrier for return to Earth on Atlantis. On flight day 8, Good and Reisman will install the final three new batteries on the truss and put the old batteries on the carrier. Next, if time permits, they will retrieve a grapple fixture from Atlantis’ payload bay and bring it inside the station for use as a spare.

Atlantis at the Launch Pad 39A

At NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Atlantis is revealed Thursday evening after retraction of the pad's rotating service structure - Credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

A compact disk containing the digital copies of all entries submitted to NASA’s Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch Contest will be flown on STS-132. The contest was held to mark the end of the shuttle era. The winning patch was designed by Blake Dumesnil of Hamilton Sundstrand, Johnson Space Center. A panel of NASA judges selected the winning patch from 85 entries submitted by NASA employees and contractors.

Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch

Mr. Blake Dumesnil’s design as the winner in the Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch Contest

During its 32 missions and more than 25 years of service  Space Shuttle Atlantis has carried more than 200 astronauts and flown more than 100 million miles. 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.

Final Call: The Legacy of space shuttle Atlantis

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.

STS-132 Launch Timeline

May 14, 2010 12:52 by scibuff

The milestones of STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis launch (reverse order) – See the mission details and more photos in my STS-132 Space Shuttle Atlantis post

~ 19:29:54 GMT @ T+09:45 – Nominal MECO, OMS-1 not required. With a direct insertion ascent, the main engines are burned slightly longer to achieve the desired apogee altitude, such that an OMS-1 maneuver (which would supply the additional thrust needed to reach orbit) is not required.

External Tank separation

External Tank (ET) separation - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:28:42 GMT @ T+08:33 – External Tank (ET) separation.

External Tank separation

External Tank (ET) separation - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:28:38 GMT @ T+08:29 – Zero Thrust.

– 19:28:32 GMT @ T+08:23 – Main Engine Cut-off (MECO). Atlantis has reach the planned orbit and is schedule to dock with the International Space Station on Flight Day 3.

Main Engine Cut-off

Main Engine Cut-off (MECO) - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:27:49 GMT @ T+07:40 – Negative Istres.

– 19:27:28 GMT @ T+07:19 – Negative Moron.

– 19:26:36 GMT @ T+06:27 – Press to MECO 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.

– 19:25:37 GMT @ T+05:28 – 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 (the OPS-3 software mode will be used for re-entry) – Prior to this point, the loss of two engines requires contingency abort procedures and OPS 6 software.

– 19:24:51 GMT @ T+04:42 – Press to ATO select Zaragoza – Atlantis could now reach a safe orbit (circular / 194.5 km) 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 would be used).

– 19:24:04 GMT @ T+03:55 – Negative Return – Atlantis has used too much fuel and is traveling too fast (8,526 km/h), too high (87.7 km) and is too far (147.6 km) to return to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for a potential Return To Launch Site (RTLS) abort.

19:23:52 GMT @ T+02:43 – 2 engine Istres. Atlantis can now reach the Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) site in Istres in the case of a single engine failure.

19:22:42 GMT @ T+02:33 – 2 engine Zaragoza. Atlantis can now reach the TAL site in Zaragoza in the case of a single engine failure.

19:22:38 GMT @ T+02:29 – 2 engine Moron. Atlantis can now reach the TAL site in Moron in the case of a single engine failure.

– 19:22:23 GMT @ T+02:14 – Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) assist.

– 19:22:13 GMT @ T+02:04Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) separation. Atlantis is at the altitude of 47.18 km, 44.57 km down range from the KSC, traveling at 5 022.7 km/h (Mach 4.1).

Solid Rocket Booster separation

Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) separation - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:21:09 GMT @ T+01:00 – Max-Q (the point of the greatest dynamic pressure).

– 19:20:54 GMT @ T+00:45 –Throttle up back to 104.5% engine power level.

– 19:20:52 GMT @ T+00:43 – Mach 1.

– 19:20:42 GMT @ T+00:33 – Throttle down from 104.5% to 72.0% engine power level at Mach 0.9.

– 19:20:27 GMT @ T+00:18 – Roll maneuver finished.

– 19:20:20 GMT @ T+00:11 – Start the roll program.

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Lift-off of Space Shuttle Atlantis on its last scheduled flight into space - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:20:09 GMT @ T-00:00 – Lift-off. Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) ignition and lift-off of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-132 (ISS assembly flight ULF4) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) ignite

The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) ignite - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:20:02 GMT @ T-00:06.6 (and 06.48, 06.36) – The three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) start.

The hydrogen burn-off system activated

The hydrogen burn-off system begins to eliminate free hydrogen - Credit: NASA TV

– 19:20:00 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.

– 19:19:54 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.

– 19:19:38 GMT: @ T-00:31 – Auto-sequence start. Atlantis’ on-board computers have primary control of all vehicle’s critical functions.

19:18:09 GMT: Crew members close and lock their visors.

19:15:09 GMT: Start auxiliary power units.

19:12:39 GMT: Retract orbiter access arm.

T-9 minutes and counting

T-9 minutes and counting, all systems are Go for launch - Credit: NASA TV

19:11:09 GMT: The countdown clock resumes at T-9min and counting.

T-20 minutes and holding

The countdown clock holds at T-20 minutes - Credit: NASA TV

17:06 GMT: The countdown clock holds at T-20 minutes.

The Closeout Crew closes Atlantis' hatch

The Closeout Crew closes Atlantis' hatch - Credit: NASA TV

– Shuttle Atlantis’ hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the six STS-132 astronauts are strapped into their seats.

T - 3 hours

The countdown clock stops at T-3hr for a 2 and half hour planned hold - Credit: NASA

The countdown clock resumes at T-3hr and counting.

The Astrovan heading to Launch Pad 39A

The Astrovan heading to Launch Pad 39A with Atlantis' astronauts - Credit: NASA/Rick Fischer

The STS-132 crew leaves the crew quarters at the Operations and Checkout Building and board the Astrovan to head to the Pad 39A.

STS-132 astronauts walk out

The STS-132 astronauts walk out of NASA Kennedy Space Center's Operations and Checkout Building, ready to ride to Launch Pad 39A - Credit: NASA

Final inspection team is on the pad looking for ice & frost buildup on the External Tank.

Final Inspection Team (FIT) at the Pad

Final Inspection Team (FIT) at the Pad checking for Ice/frost buildup on fuel tank or other debris hazards - Credit: NASA TV

12:54 GMT: The shuttle tanking went into a stable replenish and the countdown entered a 2.5 hour long inbuilt hold at T-3 hours. Count to pick up at 15:24 GMT

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

– 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).

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

10:55 GMT: Fueling of the External Tank began with liquid hydrogen (at 20K) started in the slow-fill mode. Liquid oxygen (at 90.188 K) will follow at 11:25 GMT.

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