Friday, June 17, 2011

Final shuttle payload at the launch pad

The last payload a shuttle will haul into space arrived at Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A late Thursday and was lifted this morning into position to be installed into Atlantis.

Atlantis is targeted to launch the 135th and  final shuttle mission three weeks from today at 11:26 a.m. The flight to the International Space Station is scheduled to last 12 days.

The primary payload is an Italian-built module packed with nearly 10,000 pounds of food, supplies and spare parts intended to keep the station stocked and fully staffed until new commercial spacecraft are ready to deliver cargo next year.

Also flying to the station is an experiment that will test technologies for refueling satellites in orbit.

The cargo module -- weighing over 25,000 pounds total -- and a carrier holding the experiment are scheduled to be inserted into Atlantis' payload bay Monday.

The same day, four Atlantis astronauts arrive at KSC for several days of pre-launch training including a launch dress rehearsal.

IMAGE: By Michael R. Brown, FLORIDA TODAY.

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