Friday, November 27, 2009

Space Shuttle Mission: STS-129

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.