Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Space Shuttle on the way to ISS

View from Atlantis: SRB separation

Mission STS-129 started with a beautiful launch of Shuttle Atlantis in very good weather. This is an important supply mission, as there are only several shuttle flights left and NASA has to make sure certain spare parts are brought to the station. The crew will perform three spacewalks during the mission, moving the spare parts (such as a station gyroscope) onto strategic locations on the ISS.

Atlantis only carries six astronauts on the way up. They will be bringing home astronaut Nicole Stott, who has been on ISS since August. Interestingly, this is the 31st shuttle flight to the ISS AND it also happens to be Atlantis' 31st flight to space!

NASA managed to make 5 shuttle flights this year, which is a very aggressive schedule. The Space Shuttle program has been scheduled to end in 2010, although there is a chance it will extend to 2011. Atlantis is scheduled to only fly one more mission, STS-132, and then it will be retired. Enjoy its performance while you can! The shuttle is scheduled to dock with ISS today at 9:53 am MST.

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