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Saturday, 14 November 2009 19:11

November 16, 2009 looks good for next shuttle launch

NASA is hoping for clear sailing on Monday as its space shuttle Atlantis crew prepares to launch for its mission delivering and installing spare parts to the International Space Station. The weather forecast predicts a 90% chance for acceptable launch conditions.

The launch of STS-129 by the U.S. space agency (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is scheduled for 2:28 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Watch preparations for the launch beginning at 5:00 a.m. EST when fueling of the space shuttle begins. Launch coverage begins at 9:30 a.m. EST. This coverage will be shown at NASA TV on the Web.

The mission will deliver two large ExPRESS Logistics Carriers that contain a couple of spare gyroscopes, two pump modules, two nitrogen tank assemblies, one ammonia tank assembly, a spare latching end effector (for the station’s robotic arm), a spare trailing umbilical system (for the Mobile Transporter), and a high-pressure gas tank.

The eleven-day mission for the six astronauts has three spacewalks scheduled.

At the completion of STS-129, the 31st mission to the ISS and the 129th overall space shuttle mission, only five space shuttle missions are left on the schedule.

The crewmembers of STS-129 include commander Charles O. Hobaugh (on his third spaceflight), pilot Barry E. Wilmore (first), and mission specialists Leland D. Melvin (second), Randolph Bresnik (first), Michael Foreman (second), and Robert Satcher (first).

The return home of the STS-129 flight will also include Nicole Stott, who have been onboard the Space Station as part of its ISS Expedition 21 crew.

Astronauts Foreman and Satcher will perform the first spacewalk of the mission (EVA1), while Bresnik and Foreman will perform the second one (EVA2) and Satcher and Bresnik will perform the third extravehicular activity (EVA3).

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The objectives of the three spacewalks are:

The EVA! objectives are:

Install a spare antenna on the truss and a bracket for ammonia lines on the Unity module;

Lubricate the grapple mechanism on the Payload Orbital Replacement Unit Attachment Device on the Mobile Base System;

Lubricate the snares of the hand of the station's Japanese robotic arm.

The objectives of EVA2 are:

Install the Grappling Adaptor to On-Orbit Railing (GATOR) bracket to the Columbus laboratory and an additional ham radio antenna;

Install an antenna on the truss for wireless helmet camera video;

Relocate the Floating Potential Measurement Unit, which records electrical potential around the station as it orbits about the Earth;

Deploy a bracket, which will be used to attach cargo on the truss.

The EVA3 goals are:

Install a new oxygen tank on the Quest airlock and the next set of the “Materials on International Space Station Experiment,” (MISSE-7A and 7B) on ELC-2;

Prepare the heater cables on a docking adapter in preparation of the installation of the Tranquility module on the port side of Unity;

Deploy another cargo platform on the truss.

STS-129 is scheduled to be the last space shuttle to include a crewmember that will be rotating to or from the International Space Station.

Launching and delivering future ISS Expedition crew members to the space station will be handled by the Russians.

Learn more about the NASA STS-129 mission at “STS-129 Mission Information.”

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