NASA, News aircraft model, airplane model, atlantis, atlantis space shuttle, Authentic Models, Clear Canopy Model Planes, custom model, custom model plane, custom model ship, custom models, custom ship model, display, display model, Featured Hand-Carved Models, model aircraft, model airplane, model display, model plane, model ship, model vessel, NASA, nasa atlantis, NASA STS-135, plane model, ship model, Space Craft and NASA Models, STS-135, warplanes, wood, wood model plane, wood plane model, wooden airplane model, wooden model airplanes
Atlantis astronauts sailed past the midpoint of NASA’s STS-135 final shuttle program mission on July 14, steeped in a demanding cargo exchange with the International Space Station, but working well ahead of schedule.
The 13-day flight to the orbiting science laboratory is scheduled to conclude with a dawn landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 21. Touchdown at the Shuttle Landing Facility is scheduled for 5:58 a.m. EDT.
“We’ve had a wonderful mission so far,” Atlantis commander Chris Ferguson reported as the four-member shuttle crew prepared to take several hours off to share an “All American” meal of barbecue with their six U.S., Russian and Japanese space station hosts.
“We brought up about 10,000 pounds of food and supplies, and that will hopefully sustain the station for about a year to come,” Ferguson said. “We have a couple of more days docked, then it’s the long road back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.”
The transfers, overseen by Atlantis mission specialist Sandra Magnus, are intended to sustain six-person operations aboard the orbiting science laboratory through 2012, as NASA transitions to post-shuttle era commercial resupply services provided by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. The strategy, however, relies on regular launches of cargo-laden Russian Progress space freighters as well.
As they took their first break since the July 8 launch of Atlantis, the shuttle astronauts reported that 75% of the 9,400 lb. of food, spare parts and research equipment they delivered in the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module had been off-loaded. More than half of the 2,300 lb. of equipment from the shuttle’s mid-deck had made its way across the station threshold as well.
Over the remaining days of the flight, 5,600 lb. of trash and unneeded station gear will be stowed aboard Raffaello, which was temporarily transferred from the shuttle’s cargo bay to the station on July 11. Another 1,500 lb. of station discards will return to Earth in the mid-deck.
“There are bags and boxes everywhere, just like your house on moving day,” says Chris Edelen, NASA’s lead space station flight director. “But it’s a controlled chaos. The [Mission Control] team is working very closely with the crew. They have choreographed the movement of equipment in and out of the logistics module so there is a place for everything.”
NASA, News aircraft model, airplane model, atlantis, Atlantis NASA, atlantis space shuttle, custom model, custom model plane, custom model ship, custom ship model, display, display model, model aircraft, model airplane, model display, model plane, model ship, model vessel, NASA, nasa atlantis, plane model, ship model, Space Shuttle Atlantis, STS-135, T-38, warplanes, wood, wood model plane, wood plane model, wooden airplane model, wooden model airplanes
With little fanfare, the Kennedy Space Center shuttle launch team gathered Tuesday to begin the 135th and last countdown at 1 p.m. for a shuttle launch, aiming to get Atlantis and its four-member crew off the ground at 11:26 a.m. EDT on Friday.
“The team gets into the mode of ‘This is launch countdown,’ and that’s really the focus that everybody has,” says NASA test director Jeremy Graeber. “To do it one more time is a great feeling.”
The only cloud on the horizon for an on-time liftoff is, predictably, Florida’s thunderstorm-prone summer weather. With a front expected to move over the mid-Atlantic coast on Thursday, meteorologists with the U.S; Air Force’s 45th Space Wing are forecasting a 60% chance weather will delay launch.
“We’ll have real high moisture on Friday,” says shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters. “When we have high moisture, particularly in the low levels, we can pop those thunderstorms and showers early when the sea breeze forms.”
Specifically, the forecast calls for a chance of showers and thunderstorms within 20 nm of the Shuttle Landing Facility, a violation of NASA flight rules that protect for a contingency landing at the launch site, and cumulus clouds within 10 nm of Launch Pad 39A, where Atlantis stands poised for liftoff. The forecast improves for launch attempts on Saturday and/or Sunday, after which the Eastern Test Range schedule shifts to support a Delta 4 rocket launch on July 14 with a GPS satellite for the Air Force. The shuttle’s next launch window opens July 16 if the Delta launches on time.
The abridged, four-member STS-135 crew, headed by Navy Capt. (ret) Christopher Ferguson, arrived at the Florida spaceport Monday afternoon in a pair of T-38 training jets.
“It’s such a pleasure to come down here when you have a rocket on the pad and it’s got your stuff loaded on it,” astronaut Rex Walheim tells reporters gathered at the landing strip.
NASA pared the last shuttle crew from the normal six or seven members to four to accommodate an emergency return on Russian Soyuz capsules, as there is no second shuttle available to mount a rescue mission should Atlantis sustain significant enough damage during launch or while in orbit to prevent a safe re-entry. NASA has preserved a safe haven option for shuttle crewmembers aboard the International Space Station and shuttle rescue capability since returning the fleet to flight after the 2003 Columbia accident.
Ferguson, Walheim, pilot Douglas Hurley and mission specialist Sandra Magnus were all fitted for Soyuz Sokol spacesuits, though just Walheim’s is flying with the STS-135 cargo. The others would be flown to the station as needed.
“The plan would basically change the sequence of when people would come down,” Walheim said in a preflight interview. “Some of the folks on the space station would stay longer than they anticipated, and then as spots free up we’d cycle our crew down one by one. [Russia] also will launch Soyuz spacecraft with just two people instead of three, which leaves a spot for them to come down with one of our crewmembers. We will kind of methodically do that until everybody’s rotated down.” Walheim would be the first to return, followed by Ferguson, Magnus and Hurley.
The goal of NASA’s final shuttle flight is to deliver a year’s worth of food, clothing, supplies and equipment to the space station to buy time in case NASA’s commercial cargo resuppliers, Space Exploration Technologies and Orbital Sciences Corp., encounter technical delays with their programs.
NASA, News aircraft models, airplane models, atlantis, Columbia, discovery, endeavour, helicopter models, model airplanes, model helicopters, model planes, plane models, Shuttle Discovery, STS-133, STS-134, STS-135, warplanes, wooden airplane models
On Mar. 9, Shuttle Discovery returned from its expedition for the final time, rolling onto the runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the 27-year-old spacecraft and her six astronauts received a spirited homecoming.
Under mostly sunny skies at 11:57 a.m. EST, the fleet-leading orbiter touched down on Runway 15, ending her 39th trip to space with just over 148.2 million mi. on her odometer and an accumulated 365 days in orbit.
The successful 13-day flight leaves just one and possibly two more missions before the three-decade old shuttle program ends. Discovery’s strong performance, with only a small handful of in-flight anomalies that did not prevent two productive one-day mission extensions, is raising similar expectations for the STS-134 and STS-135 missions, which would send Endeavour and Atlantis into orbit before retirement.
Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for space operations, told a post-landing briefing, said “We need to keep the focus,”adding, “We need to keep the focus on those flights, stay diligent and work those flights just as hard as we did this flight.”
Over a 13-day mission, Discovery commander Steve Lindsey, pilot Eric Boe, Mike Barratt, Nicole Stott, Al Drew and Steve Bowen equipped the International Space Station with the U.S. segment’s last habitable compartment, the Permanent Multipurpose Module, and an external platform for the stowage of spare parts. Discovery’s STS-133 mission delivered five tons of internal cargo, including research equipment. The science gear included Robonaut 2, a joint project between NASA and General Motors to investigate safe human/machine interactions in weightlessness.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden led the agency’s runway greeting party. He credited the astronauts with “an incredible flight.
“This is bittersweet for all of us,” added Bolden, a former astronaut who flew twice on Discovery. He served as pilot on the 1990 launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.
“It’s a pretty bittersweet moment for all of us,” Lindsey remarked, following the customary post-landing orbiter inspection. “As the minutes pass, I’m getting sadder and sadder.”
Discovery will undergo the customary de-servicing before its is assigned to a museum, presumably the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum. Bolden has promised Congress a decision on where all three orbiters will retire by April 12. Discovery is unlikely to leave Kennedy before the fall, and NASA is still evaluating how many of its systems, including the auxiliary power units and hypergolic plumbing, it would like to salvage for engineering forensics.
The scene on Runway 15 was reminiscent of the May 26, 2010, return of Atlantis, which at that point was designated as the first of the NASA orbiters to face retirement. Through re-scheduling and the prolonged troubleshooting of cracks in the stringer section of Discovery’s external fuel tank, the order and pace of retirement changed.
Endeavour is to roll from Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A, where it will be prepared for an April 19 lift off. Endeavour’s six-member crew will head for the orbiting science laboratory with the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, an external astronomical observatory. The six-member crew, led by veteran commander Mark Kelly, will be prepared to carry out four spacewalks over the 14-day STS-134 mission.
Atlantis and a crew of four astronauts will be readied for a possible rescue of Endeavour’s crew, an operational change implemented in the aftermath of the 2003 Columbia tragedy. Atlantis will then transition to STS-135, a 12-day supply mission to the station that is currently manifested for a June 28 liftoff. The flight is called for in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act, though it was not included in the most recent series continuing budget resolution.
NASA, News Ariane 5, ATV-2, endeavour, Jules Verne, NASA, Roscosmos, STS-134, STS-135, TMA-21
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, have agreed to changes in the International Space Station (ISS) manifest that will see the second Automated Transfer Vehicle launched on Feb. 15 and confirm the final planned shuttle flight, STS-134, on the orbiter Endeavour for Feb. 27.
Last Oct. 1, it has been decided at the International Astronautical Conference that Roscosmos will look into additional Soyuz launch and landing options to reinforce the robustness of the manifest.
Initially scheduled for next month, STS-134 had to be bumped because of Sun angle heating and other issues at the station, but the Feb. 27 date had been tentative. The mission will deliver the $2-billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a multinational cosmic ray particle physics detector designed to examine fundamental issues about the matter and origin of the universe. The flight will include three spacewalks, in addition to the installation of the AMS on the station’s exterior, using the shuttle and station robotic arms.
STS-134 will be followed by the Expedition 27 crew transport mission on Soyuz TMA-21, on March 20.
An additional final shuttle flight, STS-135, has been proposed in the new NASA appropriations bill, but it remains to be seen if it is approved when the bill is enacted.
Launch of the ATV-2, christened Johannes Kepler, had been expected in late 2010 but had to be pushed back by various factors, including late delivery of the vehicle. Arianespace confirmed a commitment to provide an Ariane 5 ES launch slot on Feb. 15. The vehicle is scheduled to dock with the ISS on Feb. 26.
In addition to boosting the station to a higher orbit, ATV-2 will deliver experiments, fuel, water, food and other supplies, and be available for emergency maneuvers if needed.
It is expected to remain docked for three and a half months before heading back for destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The first ATV, Jules Verne, was launched in March 2008.
ATV-2 will be preceded by the Progress 41P resupply and logistics mission on Jan. 28.