Thursday, April 07, 2011

Last shuttle crew training at KSC

The four-person crew of the last scheduled shuttle mission is visiting Kennedy Space Center for two days of training ahead of a planned June 28 launch.

Mission commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim will be getting more familiar with spacecraft systems and the payload they'll fly to the International Space Station.

The veteran crew will climb inside the cockpit of Atlantis in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 and inspect the Italian-built cargo module Raffaello in the Space Station Processing Facility.

The standard pre-flight training is called the Crew Equipment Interface Test, or CEIT. The crew will return to KSC at least once more before launch for a countdown dress rehearsal.

Atlantis' 12-day mission intends to keep the station stocked for a year with food and other supplies, limiting the impact of any delays in commercial cargo deliveries by SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corp. The mission also plans to fly a system investigating the potential for robotically refueling spacecraft and to return a failed ammonia pump module to Earth for study.

The mission would be the 135th and final shuttle flight. Meanwhile, KSC teams continue to ready Endeavour to launch the 134th mission on April 29.

IMAGE: Attired in training versions of their shuttle launch and entry suits, STS-135 astronauts posed for a crew portrait in February. Pictured are Chris Ferguson (center right), commander; Doug Hurley (center left), pilot; Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus, both mission specialists. Photo credit: NASA

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