Student Features

STS-129 Info Orb Text

STS-129 mission patch
STS-129 Mission Patch

The red, white and blue astronaut symbol on the STS-129 mission patch shows that all the crew members are from the U.S. The space shuttle will take equipment to the International Space Station. The two shapes of the patch symbolize two platforms the mission will deliver. Each star stands for a child of a crew member.
STS-129 crew
STS-129 Crew

The STS-129 crew is flying Atlantis on the 31st mission to the International Space Station.

Pictured on the left from front to back are Commander Charlie Hobaugh (hoe-BAW), and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin and Mike Foreman. On the right, from front to back, are Pilot Barry Wilmore, and Mission Specialists Randy Bresnik and Robert Satcher.
Space shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad
Go Atlantis!

The space shuttle often carries orbital replacement units, or ORUs, to the station. ORUs are spare parts. Many are too big to be brought up on any other vehicle that visits the space station. When the shuttle retires, it will be like taking away an 18-wheeler and replacing it with small pickup trucks. So Atlantis is carrying many large parts on the STS-129 mission.

Artist's drawing of the space station with the ExPRESS Logistics Carriers highlighted

The STS-129 astronauts are taking two platforms to the station’s truss, or backbone. The platforms are called ExPRESS Logistics Carriers 1 and 2. The ELCs will hold large spare parts that the station will need after the shuttle is no longer flying. Each ELC can hold up to 9,800 pounds (4,445 kilograms).

Astronaut Charlie Hobaugh training for the mission
The Commander

Charlie Hobaugh (hoe-BAW) is the commander of STS-129. This flight is taking place shortly after the ninth anniversary of humans on the space station. People have lived aboard since Nov. 2, 2000. This flight is also the last shuttle mission scheduled to carry a station crew member. Astronaut Nicole Stott will return to Earth with STS-129 after her stay on the station.

Astronaut in orange training suit flips toward the pool
Water Survival Training

In an emergency, the shuttle crew might have to bail out. They wear orange suits called Advanced Crew Escape Suits, or ACES. The suit has many features including communications equipment, parachutes and survival gear. If astronauts land in water, they can use the large life raft packed in each suit. The crew practices what to do in an emergency water landing.

Two astronauts in training spacesuits are lowered into the water
Spacewalk Training

The STS-129 crew will need to make three spacewalks to accomplish the mission tasks. Each spacewalk will last about 6.5 hours. The three spacewalkers on this crew are Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman and Robert Satcher. They will install several pieces of equipment and lubricate a part on the Japanese robotic arm.

Astronaut on the end of the station robotic arm holds a Control Moment Gyroscope
Control Moment Gyroscope

The space station must stay in the correct position, or attitude, above Earth facing the sun. Four gyroscopes control the attitude. Each is a 220-pound (98-kilogram) steel wheel. The gyros spin at 6,600 revolutions per minute, or rpm. These Control Moment Gyroscopes can be repositioned. The force from this action makes the station move.

A MISSE tray on the space station

Outside the space station, the crew will install an experiment called MISSE-7. It holds more than 700 small samples of different materials. Scientists will test the materials after they have spent time in space. Scientists want to learn if space affects the materials. They will learn if ultraviolet rays, direct sunlight, radiation, and extreme heat and cold have an effect.

Ammonia Tank Assembly
Spare Parts

The space shuttle is set to retire in 2010. So this mission is carrying parts the station may need in the future, including:
-- Two spare gyroscopes
-- Two nitrogen tank assemblies
-- High-pressure tank of oxygen
-- Robotic arm parts
-- Two ammonia pumps
-- Ammonia tank to move extra heat from inside to the radiators outside.

STS-129 crew in the White Room at the launch pad
Mission 129

This 129th space shuttle mission has much to accomplish. Pilot Barry Wilmore will assist Commander Hobaugh. Wilmore and Leland Melvin will run the robotic arm. Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman and Robert Satcher will go outside the space station for the spacewalks. Before the mission, the astronauts work together and spend many hours practicing what they will do in space.

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