Saturday, July 16, 2011

End of station cargo work in sight for Atlantis

Four Atlantis astronauts have wrapped up another day of packing and moving cargo on the International Space Station, work now 90 percent complete.

There's only one more full day left to transfer cargo between the station and shuttle, though Sunday's schedule includes some off-duty time.

On Monday, the crew will return a cargo module to Atlantis' payload bay and close hatches between the spacecraft in preparation for an early Tuesday undocking as a shuttle departs the station for the final time.

The crew went to sleep around 3 p.m. EDT today and plans to awake at 10:59 p.m. to begin Flight Day 10. Atlantis launched July 8 from Kennedy Space Center.

NASA cancelled a mission status briefing that had been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. today, saying it was unnecessary since the mission was progressing well.

Engineers continue to analyze one of Atlantis' five on-board computers after its failure sudden Thursday. It ran well during diagnostic tests today, but managers haven't decided whether to activate it for undocking.

NASA TV today played a recorded tribute from the Atlantis crew commemorating the final shuttle mission.

Atlantis commander Chris Ferguson further explained plans for the U.S. flag he discussed Friday with President Obama, which the president referred to as a "capture the flag" moment for commercial spaceflight.

Flown on the first shuttle mission, the flag will be handed to the first U.S. commercial spacecraft to arrive at the station for return to Earth, and eventual flight again on a NASA exploration mission.

"In a few short years, the United States will launch its own indigenous vehicle once again," said Ferguson. "We want to return this flag back to Earth with that vehicle when it comes again, only to be returned to space once again when we leave low Earth orbit and return to a lunar, asteroid or perhaps Martian destination."

"From the flight deck of Atlantis, the crew of STS-135 wishes all of the workers who contributed to the space shuttle program our best and our thanks. God bless you and God bless America," he concluded.

Click here to watch the full tribute video.

Atlantis mission specialist Sandy Magnus and Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, an Expedition 28 flight engineer, also offered a message exhorting their respective nations' teams to victory in the women's World Cup final.

"Go USA!" and "Go Japan!" they yelled with fist pumps.

Mission Control could be heard giving Magnus, who identified herself as a soccer fan since age 11, a halftime score update in today's third-place game between France and Sweden.

1 comment:

Mike said...

"Flown on the first shuttle mission, the flag will be handed to the first U.S. commercial spacecraft to arrive at the station for return to Earth...."

I wonder which Obama re-election donor will win the the honor.

Yes We Con !