NASA's Shuttle Atlantis Headed for Delivery Stop at Space Station
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Space shuttle Atlantis and its six-member crew began an 11-day delivery flight to the International Space Station on Monday with a 2:28 p.m. EST launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle will transport spare hardware to the outpost and return a station crew member who spent more than two months in space.
Atlantis is carrying about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts for systems that provide power to the station, keep it from overheating, and maintain a proper orientation in space. The large equipment can best be transported using the shuttle's unique capabilities.
"We appreciate all the effort making this launch attempt possible. We are excited to take this incredible vehicle for a ride to another incredible vehicle, the ISS," Commander Charlie Hobaugh said shortly before launch.
The flight will include three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the station's truss, or backbone. The platforms will store the spare parts needed to sustain station operations after the shuttle fleet is retired.
Hobaugh is joined on Atlantis' STS-129 mission by Pilot Barry E. Wilmore and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman and Bobby Satcher. Atlantis will return with station resident Nicole Stott, marking the final time the shuttle is expected to rotate station crew members. Wilmore, Bresnik and Satcher are first-time space fliers.
Atlantis' first landing opportunity at Kennedy is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 27, at 9:43 a.m. This mission is the 129th space shuttle flight, the 31st to the station, the 31st for Atlantis and the fifth in 2009.
NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Atlantis' mission. NASA Television features live mission events, daily mission status news conferences and 24-hour commentary. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
NASA's Web coverage of STS-129 includes mission information, interactive features, news conference images, graphics and videos. Mission coverage, including the latest NASA TV schedule, is available on the main space shuttle Web site at: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
Melvin, Satcher and Stott are providing mission updates on Twitter. For their Twitter feeds and other NASA social media Web sites, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect
Live updates to the NASA News Twitter feed will be added throughout the shuttle mission and landing. To access the NASA News Twitter feed, visit: http://www.twitter.com/nasa
Daily news conferences with STS-129 mission managers will take place at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. During normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Monday through Friday, reporters may ask questions from participating NASA locations. Please contact your preferred NASA facility before its daily close of business to confirm its availability before each event.
Johnson will operate a telephone bridge for media briefings that occur outside of normal business hours. To be eligible to use this service, reporters must possess valid media credentials issued by a NASA center or specifically for the STS-129 mission.
Media representatives planning to use the service must contact the Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of a briefing in which they wish to participate. Newsroom personnel will verify their credentials and transfer them to the phone bridge. The capacity of the phone bridge is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
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