With the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis from Kennedy Space Center (Florida) on 16 November 2009 at 14:28 local time (20:28 Central European Time/CET), the orbiter has begun a twelve-day mission, STS-129, to the International Space Station.
The NASA space shuttle is carrying 14 tons of supplies, spare parts and experiments to the International Space Station (ISS). This is the 31st flight for Atlantis. In the period before the planned decommissioning of the shuttle fleet in 2010, a further five launches are scheduled.
STS-129 mission plan
If the shuttle flight runs according to plan, Atlantis will dock with the ISS on the third mission day – Wednesday, 18 November 2009 – and remain docked for seven days. Included in the 14 tons of supplies that Atlantis is delivering are the new materials science experiment MISSE-7 (Materials International Space Station Experiment) and additional antenna equipment for improving ISS to ground communications.
The crew is made up of the commander, Charles O. Hobaugh, pilot Barry E. Wilmore and four mission specialists: Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman, Leland Melvin and Robert Satcher, Jr. The landing of the space shuttle is planned for the twelfth mission day – 27 November 2009 – at 09:57 local time (15:57 CET) on the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) airfield at Kennedy Space Center.
Development of ISS continues
With three space walks planned, the four mission specialists will install an ExpRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC) on the ISS for the first time. These are external transportation and carrier platforms for experiments and spare parts. The astronauts will also attach the antenna equipment and make preparations for the arrival of Node 3 (Tranquility) in February 2010.
Information about the visibility of the ISS and the Space Shuttle Atlantis during the undocking manoeuvres can be found in the under 'Links' in the right-hand column.