Friday, November 27, 2009

Crew Given "Go" for Payload Bay Door Closing

At 5:52 a.m. EST, STS-129 entry Flight Director Bryan Lunney and his entry team of flight controllers gave space shuttle Atlantis Commander Charles Hobaugh a "go" to close the payload bay doors. Shortly, Atlantis will transition to the entry software program. The crew members will begin suiting up in their launch and entry suits at 7:14 a.m. and strap into their seats at 7:37 a.m. A "go-no go" call for the 8:37 a.m. deorbit burn is expected at 8:17 a.m.

Weather conditions at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility are observed "go" and forecast "go" for the predicted landing time of 9:44 a.m. EST. NASA Flight Crew Operations Director Brent Jett is flying weather reconnaissance flights at Kennedy and reports the conditions are as predicted. Capcom Chris Ferguson told Hobaugh, "Really good conditions down here."

The STS-129 Crew

Image above: The STS-129 crew members show some of their Thanksgiving food items during an in-flight media interview: Photo credit: NASA TV

› Meet the STS-129 Crew

Crew Begins Landing Day
The crew of space shuttle Atlantis has begun what is scheduled to be the STS-129 mission’s landing day.

Atlantis will be bringing home Mission Specialist and former Expedition 20 and 21 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott, who spent 87 days on the International Space Station. Her return brings to an end nearly a decade of space shuttle use to rotate crew on the station.

With the weather in Florida looking perfect for a landing, Atlantis’ first opportunity is at Kennedy Space Center on orbit 171. It would see a deorbit burn at 8:37 a.m. EST. Landing would be at 9:44 a.m.

Atlantis is winding up a mission that included three spacewalks and more than six days at the International Space Station. The orbiter took 14 tons of cargo in its payload bay, including two large carriers with spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired next year, to the orbiting laboratory.

Tuesday at 10 a.m., European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne handed over command of the station to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams. De Winne and Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk are scheduled to leave the station for return to Earth in a Soyuz capsule on Nov. 30.

› View video of change of command ceremony

On Sunday, Bresnik told the flight controllers his new daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik, had been born in Houston at 11:04 p.m. CST Saturday. He said his wife Rebecca and new daughter, 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 20 inches long, were doing well. Bresnik got the news by private phone patch through mission control shortly after the crew was awakened.

› Listen to Bresnik's comments
› View video of announcement
› Read the Pre-flight Interview with Randy and Rebecca Bresnik