Thursday, November 12, 2009

Live at KSC: Shuttle crew arriving for launch

Update: The crew touched down at 12:33 p.m.

Six Atlantis astronauts are expected to fly into Kennedy Space Center around noon today in preparation for a 2:28 p.m. Monday blastoff to the International Space Station.

You can track the crew's flight aboard a Gulfstream II jet from Ellington Field in Houston here.

Led by mission commander Charlie Hobaugh, the crew is scheduled to fly an 11-day mission to deliver large spare parts that will be stowed outside the station.

Atlantis will also bring home station flight engineer Nicole Stott, a former shuttle engineer at KSC, who is completing a three-month tour on the station.

The other crew members are pilot Barry Wilmore and mission specialists Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman, Leland Melvin and Bobby Satcher.

Wilmore, Bresnik and Satcher will be making their first trips to space.

Hobaugh has piloted two previous missions; Foreman and Melvin have flown one each.

Atlantis' flight is one of six remaining before NASA plans to retire its three-orbiter shuttle fleet.

The launch's official countdown is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Friday.

IMAGE NOTE: Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, six astronauts take a break from training to pose for the STS-129 crew portrait at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Pictured on the front row are astronauts Charlie Hobaugh (left), commander; and Barry Wilmore, pilot. From the left (back row) are astronauts Leland Melvin, Mike Foreman, Robert Satcher and Randy Bresnik, all mission specialists.

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