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July 22, 2011

Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program

Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program

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Friday, July 22, 2011

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has completed its last journey with a landing at Kennedy Space Center, located in Florida, United States. Two thousand employees, including employees, families and friends, witnessed the landing of Atlantis at 0557 EDT (0957 UTC) yesterday. This landing has brought mission STS-135 to a close, as well as the Space Shuttle program from NASA. The program, which experienced a total of one hundred and thirty-five missions, had been in operation for thirty years, since 1981.

During the landing, Christopher Ferguson, the flight’s commander, commented that “[t]he space shuttle changed the way we view the world and it changed the way we view the universe”. Citing “a lot of emotion” in relation to this landing, Ferguson clarified that “one thing’s indisputable: America’s not going to stop exploring”.

Amongst the aftermath of the landing, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. produced a speech while standing in front of the spacecraft and its crew and spoke of “the rare opportunity to witness history”. Atlantis launched for the final time on July 8 this year. Bolden commented: “This final shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today we recommit ourselves to continuing human spaceflight and taking the necessary and difficult steps to ensure America’s leadership in human spaceflight for years to come.”

The United States government gave the order to abandon the program, partially attributing their cancellation to the expense of vehicle maintenance. Due to the program’s conclusion, in excess of three thousand space shuttle operation contributions are now anticipated to lose their occupations. Bolden spoke of how grateful NASA were to the “thousands, literally tens of thousands, of folks all around the country who made all this possible”. There is now no way for individuals to travel into space from the United States. To do this, NASA will utilise the services of the Russian spacecraft Soyuz.

STS-135 making its final landing at Kennedy Space Center. Image: NASA / Frank Michaux.

STS-135 making its final landing at Kennedy Space Center.
Image: NASA / Frank Michaux.

An alternate view of the landing, captured from behind the craft. Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

An alternate view of the landing, captured from behind the craft.
Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

Space Shuttle Atlantis after completing its landing. Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

Space Shuttle Atlantis after completing its landing.
Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

Amongst the aftermath of the landing, the crew of STS-135 stand alongside NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. as he makes a speech. Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

Amongst the aftermath of the landing, the crew of STS-135 stand alongside NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. as he makes a speech.
Image: NASA / Kim Shiflett.

Space Shuttle Atlantis making its reentry towards the planet Earth. Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Atlantis making its reentry towards the planet Earth.
Image: NASA.

Official photo of STS-135 crew members, taken in February 2011. From left to right: Rex Walheim, Doug Hurley, Chris Ferguson, Sandy Magnus. Image: NASA / Robert Markowitz.

Official photo of STS-135 crew members, taken in February 2011. From left to right: Rex Walheim, Doug Hurley, Chris Ferguson, Sandy Magnus.
Image: NASA / Robert Markowitz.

File photo of Christopher Ferguson, commander of STS-135. Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

File photo of Christopher Ferguson, commander of STS-135.
Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Pilot Douglas Hurley on February 11, 2011. Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Pilot Douglas Hurley on February 11, 2011.
Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Mission specialist Sandra Magnus, on February 11, 2011. Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Mission specialist Sandra Magnus, on February 11, 2011.
Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Rex Joseph Walheim, seen here on February 11, 2011, was also a mission specialist on STS-135. Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Rex Joseph Walheim, seen here on February 11, 2011, was also a mission specialist on STS-135.
Image: NASA / Bill Stafford.

Patch for STS-135, the last space shuttle mission. Image: NASA.

Patch for STS-135, the last space shuttle mission.
Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Program patch. Image: NASA.

Space Shuttle Program patch.
Image: NASA.

Current NASA logo. Image: US Government.

Current NASA logo.
Image: US Government.

The Obama family being shown around Atlantis by Janet L. Kavandi on April 29, 2011. Image: NASA / Bill Ingalls.

The family being shown around Atlantis by Janet L. Kavandi on April 29, 2011.
Image: NASA / Bill Ingalls.

Atlantis at Orbiter Processing Facility-1, before its final scheduled moving to KSC on May 17, 2011. Image: NASA / Jack Pfaller.

Atlantis at Orbiter Processing Facility-1, before its final scheduled moving to KSC on May 17, 2011.
Image: NASA / Jack Pfaller.

Atlantis launching from KSC on July 8, 2011. Image: Bill Ingalls.

Atlantis launching from KSC on July 8, 2011.
Image: Bill Ingalls.

File photo of NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Image: NASA / Bill Ingalls.

File photo of NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
Image: NASA / Bill Ingalls.



Related news

  • “End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program” — Wikinews, July 8, 2011
  • “Space Shuttle Endeavour enters history books after nineteen years following penultimate landing of program” — Wikinews, June 4, 2011
  • “NASA celebrates 30th anniversary of first shuttle launch; announces new homes for retired shuttles” — Wikinews, April 13, 2011
  • “Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time” — Wikinews, May 14, 2010

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May 14, 2010

Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time

Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time

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Friday, May 14, 2010

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis blasted off earlier today for its final mission.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis launched today for its final planned mission in space, STS-132.

Atlantis lifted off in fair weather at 2:20 p.m. EDT (1820 UTC) from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch was viewed by over 40,000 spectators at Kennedy, including a small group chosen by NASA for a space “tweetup”. Carrying six veteran astronauts and an assortment of parts for the International Space Station (ISS), the shuttle took off without any delays. This mission, scheduled to take twelve days, is the aging shuttle’s 32nd voyage into space of its 25-year career.

While no damage to the shuttle was seen, a piece of space junk near the ISS caused minor concern (but no delays). The shuttle is expected to dock at the ISS early Sunday morning, and the crew will perform maintenance work on the ISS next week. If everything proceeds without incident, Atlantis will leave the ISS on May 23 and land on May 26.

This flight also marks the third-to-last mission of NASA’s Space Shuttle program, which is being retired this year. However, Atlantis will still be maintained as an emergency rescue shuttle for the final Space Shuttle mission, and while NASA could also use Atlantis to resupply the ISS, it has not yet made a final decision regarding the plan.

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February 20, 2008

Space Shuttle Atlantis completes mission STS-122

Space Shuttle Atlantis completes mission STS-122

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Landing of STS-122

Space Shuttle Atlantis has landed on runway 15 of the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility, completing the STS-122 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Landing occurred at the earliest opportunity today, with Atlantis touching down at 14:07:10 GMT (09:07:10 local time), following a de-orbit burn at 13:00 GMT, and entry interface at 13:35. Wheel-stop occurred at 14:08:08 GMT.

During STS-122, the Columbus module was installed on the space station, a nitrogen coolant tank was replaced, and a the CMG-3 control gyroscope, which had been removed during the STS-118 mission last August, was collected for return to Earth. Three spacewalks were conducted. The mission lasted 12 days, 18 hours, 21 minutes, and 40 seconds.

Seven astronauts returned to Earth aboard Atlantis; Stephen Frick, Alan G. Poindexter, Leland D. Melvin, Rex J. Walheim, Hans Schlegel, Stanley G. Love, and Daniel M. Tani. Léopold Eyharts was launched aboard Atlantis, but remained aboard the station, replacing Tani as part of the Expedition 16 crew. Tani returned to Earth after 120 days in space as a member of Expedition 16. He was originally scheduled to return in December, however this was delayed because of problems launching Atlantis.

Atlantis’ successful landing means that there is now no impediment to the US Navy’s attempt to destroy a failed satellite in orbit, which is expected to occur at 03:30 GMT tomorrow morning. This could not have been conducted before Atlantis landed, as the debris it is expected to create could have damaged the Shuttle as it descended from orbit.

The next Space Shuttle mission, STS-123, using the Space Shuttle Endeavour, is scheduled to launch in early March, with Japanese and Canadian components for the Space Station. Atlantis’ next mission will be STS-125, the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, which is scheduled for launch in late August.



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February 15, 2008

STS-122 astronauts perform third spacewalk

STS-122 astronauts perform third spacewalk

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Friday, February 15, 2008

The Columbus module (foreground) attached to the ISS. Space Shuttle Atlantis can be seen in the background.

Two astronauts have performed the third and final spacewalk, or Extra-vehicular activity (EVA), of the STS- 122 mission. Rex Walheim and Stan Love began the spacewalk at 13:07 GMT, departing the Quest airlock of the International Space Station (ISS). The EVA ended with their return to the airlock, seven hours and 25 minutes later, at 20:32 GMT.

The goals of the spacewalk were to install two experiments onto the outside of the newly delivered Columbus module of the space station, and to load a failed gyroscope onto the visiting Space Shuttle, Atlantis, for return to Earth next Wednesday. The gyroscope, CMG-3 was one of four used to control the space station’s attitude. It was replaced during an EVA made by the STS-118 crew during August 2007. It has been stored outside the Space Station since then, awaiting collection.

The experiments installed on the Columbus module are a solar observatory, SOLAR, and a materials research experiment, EuTEF. Subsequent to this, the astronauts fitted handrails to the Columbus module, to assist with future EVAs. Following the successful completion of these primary tasks, the astronauts performed several other tasks, which included collecting safety tethers from previous EVAs, and inspecting micrometeroite damage on a handrail.

This is the 104th spacewalk conducted as part of the International Space Station programme.



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February 7, 2008

Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on mission STS-122

Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on mission STS-122

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Launch of STS-122

Space Shuttle Atlantis has launched from LC-39A at the Kennedy Space Center on mission STS-122 to deliver the European Columbus module to the International Space Station. Liftoff occurred at 19:45 UTC, which is 14:45 local time at the launch site. Atlantis successfully reached orbit about eight and a half minutes later.

Columbus is the first research module to be added to the Space Station since 2001, and its launch came seven years to the day after the last research module, Destiny was launched, also aboard Atlantis. Docking with the International Space Station, on the PMA-2 docking port, is scheduled for Saturday. Earlier today, a Progress spacecraft docked with the Space Station, carrying new supplies for the outpost.

The Shuttle is carrying a crew of seven Astronauts; Stephen Frick, Alan G. Poindexter, Leland D. Melvin, Rex J. Walheim, Hans Schlegel, Stanley G. Love, and Léopold Eyharts.

The STS-122 crew

The launch had previously been delayed twice due to problems with fuel sensors in the Shuttle’s external tank. A connector was replaced, and the third launch attempt proceeded without any sensor problems.

During the post launch press conference, it was reported that three pieces of foam debris were observed falling from the External Tank, however these were all small pieces of debris, so it is expected that any damage caused would not be mission-threatening.

STS-122 is the fifth orbital launch of 2008, the 24th Shuttle mission to the ISS, the 29th flight of Atlantis and the 121st overall Shuttle mission. It is scheduled to last 11 days, and conclude with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center on 19 February. Twelve further Shuttle missions remain before its retirement in 2010.



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June 22, 2007

Space Shuttle Atlantis lands in California

Space Shuttle Atlantis lands in California

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Recent stories
  • 22 July 2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program
  • 8 July 2011: End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program
  • 27 May 2010: Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center
  • 14 May 2010: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time

About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

Other NASA Space Shuttles
  • Discovery
  • Endeavour
  • Columbia (destroyed)
  • Challenger (destroyed)
Related Wikipedia articles

For more info on U.S. and other human spaceflight initiatives, please explore the links below.

  • Space Shuttle program
  • Human spaceflight
  • List of human spaceflights
  • List of space shuttle missions
  • List of manned spacecraft
  • International Space Station
  • Orion (possible Shuttle successor)

Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis has performed a successful landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing STS-117, a troubled but successful mission to upgrade the International Space Station (ISS). The mission had a total duration of 13 days, 20 hours and 11 minutes, much longer than originally intended due to a mission extension and a missed landing opportunity.

The landing in California is the result of the latest in a string of difficulties for the mission, as poor weather forced Atlantis first to postpone its landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, then to cancel it altogether, opting instead to land in California. NASA had previously expressed their desire to avoid a landing in California if possible due to logistical difficulties that would be caused by the diversion.

Atlantis will now be flown back to Florida on the back of a modified Boeing 747 at a cost of around US$1 million. The flight is expected to begin next Thursday and will take at least a day or two from then. According to officials at the Kennedy Space Center, the delay is already accounted for as a previously identified possibility as part of plans for the next Atlantis mission, scheduled for departure on October 20, again for ISS construction work.

During this mission, the Atlantis crew added the 17.5 ton S3/S4 Truss, the second of the trusses on the starboard side, as well as adding its associated energy systems, including the unfurling a set of solar arrays with a 240 foot tip-to-tip length. The arrays will generate power for European and Japanese science laboratories set to be added to the ISS at a later date. During the same mission, another solar array was folded up to allow the truss it is mounted to to be relocated later this year. The shuttle also left crewmember Clay Anderson at the ISS and returned with ISS crewmember Sunita Williams, who earlier set the record for female space endurance during her latest ISS mission.

Although successful, there were numerous problems during the mission. A computer failure in the Russian segments of the ISS almost forced the shuttle’s mission to be extended and left the ISS struggling to maintain thrusters, oxygen generation, carbon dioxide scrubber, and other environmental control systems, and relying on Atlantis to help. Officials even looked at the possibility of an unprecedented emergency evacuation of the ISS, although astronauts were ultimately able to repair the systems.

Other concerns included hail damage, which delayed the mission’s launch; damage to the thermal blanket, which required a spacewalk to repair; and discovery of unidentified debris shortly after Atlantis docked with the ISS. The mission had to be extended by two days in order to give astronauts time to repair the damaged heat-protection equipment. NASA officials held an emergency meeting Wednesday while engineers confirmed that they thought the repair would withstand the rigors of re-entry with the Earth’s atmosphere.

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June 21, 2007

Landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis postponed due to bad weather

Landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis postponed due to bad weather

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Recent stories
  • 22 July 2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program
  • 8 July 2011: End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program
  • 27 May 2010: Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center
  • 14 May 2010: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time

About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

Other NASA Space Shuttles
  • Discovery
  • Endeavour
  • Columbia (destroyed)
  • Challenger (destroyed)
Related Wikipedia articles

For more info on U.S. and other human spaceflight initiatives, please explore the links below.

  • Space Shuttle program
  • Human spaceflight
  • List of human spaceflights
  • List of space shuttle missions
  • List of manned spacecraft
  • International Space Station
  • Orion (possible Shuttle successor)

The planned landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis earlier today has been postponed due to poor weather conditions in the vicinity of the landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle is currently on STS-117, a mission to the International Space Station.

According to NASA, there were showers within a 34-mile radius of the landing strip and clouds within 8,000 feet. Both of these represent conditions in which flight rules prohibit a landing. The shuttle has five more opportunities to land over the course of the next three days. Atlantis could land tomorrow at 2:16 p.m. or 3:51 p.m. ET. According to Mission Control, weather forecasts predict better conditions tomorrow.

If necessary, there are also backup sites in California and New Mexico. If required, these alternative facilities will be activated on Saturday. Atlantis can potentially remain in orbit until Sunday, but officials have stated they will only postpone landing until Sunday if there are technical problems that require attention prior to landing.

NASA would prefer not to use alternative sites as this would significantly increase the cost of preparing Atlantis for its next mission, scheduled for December. The shuttle would have to be brought back on a jumbo jet; this would take up to ten days and cost US$1.7 million.

The mission managers held a last-minute meeting late Wednesday to discuss potential problems which could affect the landing – damage to the thermal blanket on takeoff – which required repairs. Material known as gap filler was found to be sticking out of a wing, and debris was found floating nearby after the shuttle docked with the space station on Tuesday. The only problem found to be of significant concern was the gap filler. Engineers want to check whether gap filler will withstand the re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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June 16, 2007

ISS crew bypass faulty switch to power-up computers

ISS crew bypass faulty switch to power-up computers

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The ISS from Atlantis on June 10, 2007.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Recent stories
  • 22 July 2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program
  • 8 July 2011: End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program
  • 27 May 2010: Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center
  • 14 May 2010: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time
Related News
  • “Shuttle mission may be extended further due to ISS computer failure” — Wikinews, June 14, 2007
About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

Other NASA Space Shuttles
  • Discovery
  • Endeavour
  • Columbia (destroyed)
  • Challenger (destroyed)
Related Wikipedia articles

For more info on U.S. and other human spaceflight initiatives, please explore the links below.

  • Space Shuttle program
  • Human spaceflight
  • List of human spaceflights
  • List of space shuttle missions
  • List of manned spacecraft
  • International Space Station
  • Orion (possible Shuttle successor)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

NASA said yesterday that four lanes (processing channels) out of six on the two navigational and support computers that had crashed earlier in the week on the International Space Station (ISS) were now operational and may be put back online today.

The two computers, the Russian Central Computer and Terminal Computer, each have three lanes of processing capability, although only one lane is required for operation. All three lanes on each computer had failed, but the ISS crew were able to restore two lanes on each computer.

Two processors, one from each of the computers, could not be restored and will be replaced.

“I think we’re in good shape. We feel like the computers are stable and back to normal. We still have a lot of options to go through to recover these machines. We’ve got a talented group of people to look at attitude control,” said ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini during a press conference on Friday.

Suffredini also said that the power levels to the computers were “just fine. We are in a very good position from a life-support perspective.”

A power switch was bypassed by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Fyodor Yurchikhin using a cable, which allowed at least four of the computers to re-boot. The computers are expected to be tested in the morning, after they have run overnight.

The navigation computers provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion system providing backup.

It is not known what initially caused the computers to fail, but Russian engineers say that it could have been a problem with power supply.

“We have plenty of resources, so we have plenty of time to sort this out,” said Suffredini on Thursday.

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June 14, 2007

Shuttle mission may be extended further due to ISS computer failure

Shuttle mission may be extended further due to ISS computer failure

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Space Shuttle Atlantis approaches the International Space Station during STS-117 on June 10.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Recent stories
  • 22 July 2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program
  • 8 July 2011: End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program
  • 27 May 2010: Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center
  • 14 May 2010: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time
Related News
  • “NASA extends Space Shuttle Atlantis’ mission” — Wikinews, June 12, 2007
About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

Other NASA Space Shuttles
  • Discovery
  • Endeavour
  • Columbia (destroyed)
  • Challenger (destroyed)
Related Wikipedia articles

For more info on U.S. and other human spaceflight initiatives, please explore the links below.

  • Space Shuttle program
  • Human spaceflight
  • List of human spaceflights
  • List of space shuttle missions
  • List of manned spacecraft
  • International Space Station
  • Orion (possible Shuttle successor)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

NASA has stated that they may extend the STS-117 Space Shuttle Atlantis mission by another two days to assist in the repair of 4 of the 6 computers that control the position, oxygen and water levels of the International Space Station (ISS) which failed, and have not come back on. As a result of the computer’s failure, the thrusters on the station and the shuttle have been stabilizing the station’s orbit.

So far, only partial restoration has been made to at least some of the computer that controls the station’s position, oxygen and water, but NASA says that some of the system still needs to be cleaned up.

“They’ve made a lot of progress. There are some cleanup steps to do still and some investigation,” said space station flight director for NASA, Holly Ridings.

Earlier NASA stated that, “Russian flight controllers will be working overnight to resolve a problem with the Russian segment computers that provide backup attitude control and orbital altitude adjustments. For now, the station’s control moment gyroscopes are handling attitude control, with the shuttle’s propulsion providing backup.”

It is not known what caused the computers to fail, but Russian engineers say that it could be a problem with power supply. This type of failure has not been observed before on the space station as re-booting the computers have fixed any problems that occurred in the past, but today, that did not work.

“We have plenty of resources, so we have plenty of time to sort this out,” said manager of the space station program at NASA, Mike Suffredini.

NASA officials state that there is an “option to depart” if at least one of the station’s stabilizing computers cannot be fixed and the three member crew that is currently there, will have to be taken back to Earth in Atlantis. Without the computer that controls the oxygen levels, there is only 56 days of oxygen left available.

NASA had already extended the shuttle’s mission by two days on June 11 to repair a tear of at least four inches in the shuttle’s Thermal Protection System (TPS), which occurred during liftoff on June 8.

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June 12, 2007

Left wing of Atlantis may have been damaged

Left wing of Atlantis may have been damaged

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
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Space Shuttle Atlantis

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Recent stories
  • 22 July 2011: Space Shuttle Atlantis landing concludes program
  • 8 July 2011: End of an era: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches on final mission in program
  • 27 May 2010: Atlantis lands at Kennedy Space Center
  • 14 May 2010: Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the final time
Related News
  • “NASA extends Space Shuttle Atlantis’ mission” — Wikinews, June 12, 2007
About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

Other NASA Space Shuttles
  • Discovery
  • Endeavour
  • Columbia (destroyed)
  • Challenger (destroyed)
Related Wikipedia articles

For more info on U.S. and other human spaceflight initiatives, please explore the links below.

  • Space Shuttle program
  • Human spaceflight
  • List of human spaceflights
  • List of space shuttle missions
  • List of manned spacecraft
  • International Space Station
  • Orion (possible Shuttle successor)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

NASA has reported that a sensor aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis recorded a force of 1G on the shuttle’s left wing. This could have been a small impact caused by a meteorite or space junk, or a sensor glitch. The anomaly was recorded on reinforced carbon panels 7 and 8 and reported during a mission briefing on Tuesday afternoon by NASA.

Atlantis on the launchpad on August 29, 2006.

“[Sensors recorded a] 1G change at one part of the wing’s leading edge,” said Chairman of the Atlantis Shuttle Mission team, John Shannon who also said that other sensors on Atlantis have not recorded the impact.

Damage resulting from impact to a wing during liftoff caused Space Shuttle Columbia to disintegrate when it was re-entering Earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003. As required by new routines put in place after the accident, astronauts will now have to use a camera or laser to determine if there is any damage to Atlantis’s left wing or not. NASA has a spacewalk scheduled for today, but it is not known yet during which of the 3 remaining spacewalks they will be inspecting this .

NASA says they do not believe that there is any damage, because the other sensors around the one that reported the anomaly did not register anything out of the ordinary, as they would be expected to do in case of an actual impact. However, they will examine the area to make sure.

Sources

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