Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crew excited for "first 'last' flight" of Atlantis

Six Atlantis astronauts this morning discussed their upcoming 12-day mission to the International Space Station, a few hours after the shuttle was secured to its pad for a targeted May 14 launch.

Lined up side by side in blue flight suits with Atlantis gleaming bright white behind them, the crew said their training this week at Kennedy Space Center brought home how close they were to launch.

"Being close to the vehicle, it just brings it home that, hey, you're going to go launch into space in a couple weeks," said mission specialist Michael Good, who is making his second spaceflight.

"And it's just great to be down here and see the folks that have worked so hard to get this vehicle ready, and just to train with them, and go through it once, and then we'll know we're ready, and we'll be back a few weeks to do it for real."

The crew was a little weary after awaking in the middle of the night to take a ride on the giant crawler-transporter rolling Atlantis to the pad.

This is expected to be the last time Atlantis sits on a pad and the last time it flies in space.

Anticipating questions about the spaceship's historic final flight, mission commander Ken Ham noted that NASA schedules are prone to changing.

"This is the first 'last' flight of Atlantis," he said.

After arriving Tuesday evening, hours after Discovery landed at KSC, the crew today will review emergency launch pad escape procedures.

The training known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test wraps up Saturday with a countdown dress rehearsal.

IMAGE: By Michael R. Brown, Florida Today. The crew of Atlantis' STS-132 mission, from left to right: commander Ken Ham, pilot Tony Antonelli and mission specialists Garrett Reisman, Mike Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers. Click here for a gallery with more crew photos.


Anonymous said...

It is a U.S tragedy to see the destruction of the Space Shuttle program before a replacement vehicle is available. It is a great shame that 25,000 people will be unemployed.

The Space Shuttle is amazing vehicle and the coolest spacecraft the U.S. will ever built. With ending the Space Shuttle, the U.S. will no longer be a super power in manned space exploration. We will be paying the Russians for a ride.

Thank you -- U.S. Senators and Congressmen.
Thank you -- President Obama

We want change -- bring common sense back to government.
Extend the Space Shuttle Program!!!!

Mark Lopa said...

I second that! Extend the Space Shuttle Program!!!!

Anonymous said...

25,000 people now? Wow, that number keeps getting bigger and bigger.

Anonymous said...

I third that notion...EXTEND THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You think the number keeps getting bigger and bigger... 25,000 jobs are just the space related jobs and its pretty dead on.

What you are not looking is the supporting businesses, restaurants, stores and you name it… is going to go by the wayside as well. You’re looking at a huge number here and in a very, very short time you will see Florida getting hit HARD…

Obama is going to have allot of splannin to do…

The states Obama is alienating just so happen to be key election states and have determined the last four presidential elections.

I don’t understand his thought process unless he is some sort of political masochist…

Obama will never see a second term if he continues down this road…

Paul Vondra said...

This is nuts. the space shuttle's termination this year was decided on in 2004. Obama wasn't even in the SENATE then. And the decision was made because this "beautiful machine" had just killed ANOTHER seven of NASA's Finest. Production lines began shutting down three years ago. Are you all really ignorant of that fact are you deliberately seeking to deceive, like most conservatives?