Friday, October 16, 2009

Watch live: Atlantis pre-flight mission briefings

NASA managers and astronauts today will brief the media on the upcoming flight of shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station, dubbed STS-129 and targeted for launch at 4:04 p.m. Nov. 12.

You can watch four separate briefings live -- click here to open a video player.

Here's the schedule from Johnson Space Center in Houston (all times Eastern):
++ 9 a.m.: Shuttle and space station program overview.
++ 10:30 a.m.: Mission overview.
++ 12 p.m.: NASA TV video file.
++ 12:30 p.m.: Spacewalk briefing.
++ 2 p.m.: Crew news conference.

The planned 11-day mission includes three spacewalks.

The primary goal will be to deliver two carriers - officially called External Logistics Carriers, or ELCs - holding large spare parts that will be stored outside the station, and to bring home station crew member and former KSC engineer Nicole Stott.

Stott will be the last station crew member to fly up and down on the shuttle, which has six flights remaining including the next one before NASA plans to retire the fleet.

Marine Corps Col. Charlie Hobaugh will command his first crew after serving as a pilot on two prior missions that visited the station, in 2001 and 2007.

Joining him on the way up will be pilot Barry Wilmore and mission specialists Randy Bresnk, Mike Foreman, Leland Melvin and Robert Satcher. Stott will make a seventh passenger on the way down.

Bresnik, Satcher and Wilmore are making their first spaceflights. Foreman, Bresnik and Satcher are the mission's spacewalkers, each performing two.

Click here to read a NASA mission summary providing additional background.

The mission would be the fifth and last of 2009, and the sixth-to-last before NASA plans to retire the shuttle fleet.

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