Thursday, October 22, 2009

STS-129 Crew Returns to JSC

After two days of prelaunch mission practice at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the six STS-129 mission astronauts returned to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. There, they will continue their training and perform customary housekeeping projects for Atlantis' upcoming flight to the International Space Station.

The crew members are scheduled to return to Kennedy to complete the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT, on Nov. 2 and 3. At that time, they will participate in a full launch countdown exercise, safety briefings and payload bay walkdown.

Meanwhile at Kennedy's Launch Pad 39A, technicians continue to check systems to verify there was no damage to the space shuttle from a lightning strike at the pad last week. So far no damage has been found.

Also at the pad today, workers are testing the solid rocket booster hydraulic system and completing the shuttle interface test -- which means confirming the various components and connections are "talking" to each other.

The agency's Flight Readiness Review, or FRR, for the STS-129 mission is set for Oct. 29 at Kennedy. Afterward, NASA will announce an official launch date and broadcast a post-meeting briefing on NASA TV.

mage above: The STS-129 crew pose for a group portrait in the White Room at Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Kneeling from left are Mission Specialist Randy Bresnik and Commander Charles O. Hobaugh; standing from left are Mission Specialists Mike Foreman, Leland Melvin and Robert L. Satcher Jr.; and Pilot Barry E. Wilmore. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
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Preparations for STS-129 Mission in Full Swing
The STS-129 mission will be commanded by Charles O. Hobaugh and piloted by Barry E. Wilmore. Mission Specialists are Robert L. Satcher Jr., Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik and Leland Melvin. Wilmore, Satcher and Bresnik will be making their first trips to space.

Atlantis and its crew will deliver two control moment gyroscopes, equipment and EXPRESS Logistics Carrier 1 and 2 to the International Space Station. The mission will feature three spacewalks.

Atlantis also will return station crew member Nicole Stott to Earth and is slated to be the final space shuttle crew rotation flight.

Launch of Atlantis on the STS-129 mission is targeted for 2:28 p.m. EST Nov. 16.

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