Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Live at KSC: station spares loaded into Atlantis

Two trays of large spare parts for the International Space Station will be ready for launch later this month when Kennedy Space Center workers finish installing them in space shuttle Atlantis today.

The parts, fastened on both sides of two platforms, weigh a total of about 27,000 pounds.

They were delivered to launch pad 39A in a giant canister on Friday and hoisted into an environmentally controlled waiting room, called the called the Payload Changeout Room, inside the pad's rotating service tower.

Crews decided to wait until today to install the cargo into Atlantis' payload bay, the day after six Atlantis astronauts inspected the the equipment as part of pre-launch training at KSC.

The bulky spares include two gyroscopes, two pump modules, two nitrogen tank assemblies, an ammonia tank assembly and a high-pressure gas tank, all of which may be needed to keep the station up and running in the years after the shuttle stops flying. You can read more about the payload here.

The installation job started around 7 a.m. and was expected to be completed around 3 p.m.

Atlantis is scheduled to blast off on an 11-day mission to the station at 2:28 p.m. Nov. 16.

IMAGE NOTE: On Oct. 21 in the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center , the Express Logistics Carrier-1, or ELC-1, was lowered into the transportation canister in which it was secured for its trip to launch pad 39A. It was to be installed today in space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay. The carrier is part of the payload for Atlantis' STS-129 mission to the International Space Station. The STS-129 crew will deliver two spare gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm. Launch is targeted for Nov. 16. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller

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