NASA Podcasts

STS-132: Mission Overview
06.03.10
 
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Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew blazed into a bright Florida afternoon sky on May 14, 2010 -- leaving Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to begin a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

Carrying a six-member STS-132 crew led by Commander Ken Ham, this was the 32nd and final planned mission for Atlantis in its 25-year career.

Tucked in the shuttle's payload bay was the Russian Mini Research Module-1, called Rassvet.

The module is the first Russian component ever to be carried by a space shuttle to the International Space Station.

After the in-flight inspection, Atlantis and crew caught up to the orbiting laboratory and joined the station's onboard crew of six as the docked portion of the mission began.

During their time at the station, members of the shuttle's crew conducted three spacewalks.

On their first venture outside the station, STS-132 Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman and Steve Bowen attached an additional space-to-ground antenna and completed other tasks on the exterior of the station.

During the almost seven-and-a-half-hour spacewalk, they were assisted from inside the station by shuttle astronaut Piers Sellers and station Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson who operated the station's robotic arm.

Ham and STS-132 Pilot Tony Antonelli used the shuttle's arm to remove the Russian research module from Atlantis' payload bay.

Then the module was handed off to the station's arm -- operated by Reisman and Sellers -- who moved it into its attached position on the Zarya service module.

The new module will provide additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

On the second spacewalk, Bowen teamed with fellow shuttle Mission Specialist Michael Good to change out four batteries on the P6 truss, each weighing about 375 pounds on Earth.

During their seven-hour trip outside they also finished the last tasks on the antenna installation, and Bowen fixed a snagged camera cable on the shuttle's sensor boom.

Good paired with Reisman for the flight's third and final spacewalk, during which they replaced two additional batteries on the P6 truss, which is part of the station's structural backbone, and completed other tasks.

Once the mission's work was successfully completed, and equipment and supplies transferred, the visiting crew said goodbye and Atlantis undocked from the station.

Standard inspections of the shuttle revealed no issues and mission control in Houston gave the Atlantis astronauts the word that they were cleared for landing.

As with launch, Florida's weather cooperated as Atlantis glided home, touching down at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility the morning of May 26, 2010.

The landing brought an end to a nearly perfect mission and completed Atlantis' last planned flight on a high note.

Commander Ken Ham: "Atlantis is an incredible ship. She was absolutely perfect through this entire mission. Probably our main objective besides getting the mission done was to bring her back in great shape and in one piece. Were happy to be home and were going to go enjoy some time with our families. Thanks."

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