Atlantis Moves to Kennedy Space Center Display

Space Shuttle Atlantis stands in Exploration Park
Image Credit: NASA / Kim Shiflett

The Space Shuttle Atlantis has been moved to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The museum where the shuttle will be housed is scheduled to open in July 2013. Atlantis completed 33 successful missions.

Key events in the history of Atlantis include:

  • Maiden Voyage in October 1985
  • Launch of the Magellan spacecraft to map Venus in 1989
  • Launch of the Galileo probe to Jupiter in 1989
  • Supply and Docking with the Russian Space Station Mir in 1995

Atlantis Fireworks
Fireworks mark the arrival of space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Image Credit: NASA

Air Force X-37B Returns

The video shows the landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in infrared and visible light of the Air Force X-37B spaceplane. The Orbital Test Vehicle-2 (OTV-2) touched down at 5:48 AM Phoenix time Saturday (12:48 UTC).

The mystery mission spacecraft was launched on 5 March 2011, and spent 469 days in orbit, exceeding its design mission time of 270 days by 199 days.

The first X-37B was launched on 22 April 2010 and spent 220 days in orbit before returning on 3 December 2010.

Marshall Space Flight Center Image of On-orbit Functions for the X-37 Space Plane
Image Credit: NASA / MSFC

Space Shuttle Enterprise Hoisted Aboard Intrepid in New York

The Space Shuttle Is Hoisted Aboard the Aircraft Carrier Enterprise
Image Credit: collectSPACE / Ben Cooper / Robert Z. Pearlman

The Space Shuttle Enterprise was hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid in New York City Wednesday. It will be on display at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

With Enterprise now sitting on its flight deck, the Intrepid will begin work raising a climate-controlled, steel and fabric shelter over the shuttle, to protect it while its on display.

The Intrepid’s new “Space Shuttle Pavilion” is set to open to the public on July 19, kicking off a 3-day “SpaceFest” at the museum.

Space Shuttle Enterprise on Barge Trip to the USS Intrepid

The Space Shuttle Enterprise Sails up the Hudson River past the new World Trade Center Tower
Image Credit: New York Post

The Space Shuttle Enterprise is on a barge trip up the Hudson River toward its new home on the USS Intrepid. The Intrepid is a World War II aircraft carrier that is home to an air and space museum. Driving up the West Side Highway, you can see an RX-71 Blackbird perched on the edge of the carrier deck, along with a dozen or more other aircraft.

The Enterprise is schedule to take up residence there this week, after its stop in New Jersey at Weeks Marine. Installation is scheduled for 6 June.

Space Shuttle Discovery To Air and Space Museum

Space Shuttle Mounted on 747 Carrier Aircraft
Image Credit: NASA


On Tuesday, April 17, between 10 and 11 a.m. EDT, space shuttle Discovery, mounted on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), will fly from Kennedy Space Center to its new home at the National Air and Space Museum, Udvar-Hazy Center. Individuals in the Washington metropolitan area will have the opportunity to see Discovery before it lands at Dulles International Airport.

Though the exact route and timing of the flight depend on weather and operational constraints, the SCA is expected to fly at approximately 1,500 feet near a variety of landmarks in the area, including the National Mall, Reagan National Airport, National Harbor and the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center.

Some publicly accessible locations from which you may be able to “Spot the Shuttle” are listed below. If you take pictures, feel free to post them on the Space Shuttle Discovery Flickr Group and if you’re on Twitter, you can tweet them using the hashtag #spottheshuttle.

Atlantis – And Then There Were None

Atlantis Reentry
Atlantis Reentry as seen from the International Space Station
Image Credit: NASA

Atlantis Cockpit View of Dawn and Kennedy Space Center
Atlantis Cockpit View of Kennedy Space Center
Image Credit: NASA TV

Atlantis Approach to the Runway
Atlantis Approach to the Runway
Image Credit: NASA TV

Atlantis Touchdown
Atlantis Touchdown at Kennedy Space Center
Image Credit: NASA TV

Atlantis and Crew
Atlantis, Astronaut Crew, and Ground Crew.
Image Credit: NASA

Official landing times:

Mission Elapsed Times (MET):

Main Gear Touchdown: MET 12/18:27:56 – 9:57:00 am UTC
Nose Gear Touchdown: MET 12/18:28:16 – 9:57:20 am UTC
Wheel Stop: MET 12/18:28:50 – 9:57:54 am UTC

High resolution images of Atlantis are now on

Atlantis – 8 July 2011 First Launch Attempt

STS-135 July 8
STS-135 two hours before launch
Image Credit: KSC TV Feed

At 6:44 AM Phoenix time (1344 UTC) launch is about 2 hours away. At the moment we are ‘no go’ due to cloud density over the launch site. NASA-TV is here, and the Kennedy Space Center video feeds can be found here for weather and pad cameras.

Weather 90 Minutes Before Launch
Image Credit: KSC TV Feed

The countdown is at T-minus 20 minutes and holding, with a ten minute built in hold.

At 7:21 AM Phoenix (1321 UTC) the count has resumed and will go down to T-minus 9 minutes for the next built in hold.

Ops Commit
Ops Commit Criteria 60 minutes before launch.
Image Credit: KSC Video

Weather is now a ‘go’. The Ops Commit Criteria are all green.

The launch is now at T-minus 9 minutes, with a 41 minute built in hold. This will set up the launch, with the window opening at 15:22:13 UTC.

The launch is expected at 15:26 UTC. The countdown will resume at 15:17:46 UTC

Poling of the main systems is complete, and everything is go.

T-minus 4 minutes.

Steering check of the three main engines. Solid rockets are armed. The auxiliary power units have been started.

T-minus 2 minutes.

T-minus 60 seconds.

T-minus 31 seconds and a failure at the moment of hand-off to the internal computer.

Retraction of the event arm confirmed.

The count has resumed.

And launch.

Image Credit: NASA TV

Seven minutes into the flight, all systems are go.

At eight minutes we have main engine cutoff and external tank separation.

All three APU systems and all three fuel cells are operating normally.

Atlantis will now begin chasing the International Space Station, anticipating docking two days from now.

Atlantis – The Last Space Shuttle Flight

STS-135 on the pad July 4th
Image Credit: KSC TV Feed

Processing of the space shuttle Atlantis continues today, July 4th, in preparation for the July 8 launch.

Here are the launch windows for Atlantis (times are UTC):

  • 8 July – 1521-1531
  • 9 July – 1459-1509
  • 10 July – 1433-1443

After that is a five day period reserved for a Delta IV launch. The next launch window is 16 July beginning at 1211 UTC.

The primary objective of STS-135 is to deliver a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) carrying 9,500 lbs of cargo, a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Equipment Support Structure Carrier (LMC), and a Station Power Distribution Unit (SPDU). The LMC will carry the Robotics Refueling Payload to the ISS and return the failed Pump Module (PM) from the ammonia cooling system. Additional ISS equipment and supplies will be carried up.

The current mission for Atlantis is to deliver as much stuff as possible to the Space Station before we come to rely on the Russian Soyuz M, European ATV, Japanese HTV, SpaceX Dragon and Orbital Sciences Cygnus resupply missions.

A long history of the Atlantis missions can be found at NASASpaceFlight:

A complete guide to NASA TV coverage can be found here.

Introducing “Epic Future Space” Vid Casts on NSSPhoenix

NSS Phoenix introduces an ongoing series of Vid Casts from You Tube by Michael Clark, one of our members.

This vid cast is a compilation of early videos discussing the transition from the Space Shuttle and Constellation programs to the current administration’s flexible path plan to visit an asteroid.

School science experiments launched into space on Endeavour’s final flight

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto
Image Credit: Veronica Ann
Zabala-Aliberto ©2011

Science has been a part of the Space Shuttle Program from the very beginning. The Most recent mission, STS-134, was no exception. Endeavour, making its final flight, carried a pallet of micro gravity experiments created by students from around the United States.

Veronica Ann Zabala-Aliberto from Rancho Santa Fe Elementary in Litchfield, Arizona, spent more than a month at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida helping to set up and analyze the experiments. She was responsible for loading the experiments for the flight aboard Endeavour, and for retrieving the experiments once the space shuttle had landed.

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program , which gives schoolchildren the ability to design real experiments that fly in low Earth orbit, was begun by National Center for Earth and Space Science Education in June of 2010. Children from around the country posed questions such as:

  • “Can honey be used as a preservative on long duration space flights?”
  • “How does exposure to microgravity affect the swimming patterns and development of zebra fish?”

Videos showing the lab work can be seen on ustream, and a description of the program is at STEMStream TV.

Student teams submitted 447 proposals, from which 16 were selected—one for each community. You can visit the SSEP Community Network Hubsite for the list of winning proposals. And a second Student Spaceflight Experiments Program opportunity was created when STS-135 Atlantis was added to the space shuttle flight manifest.

Veronica is the Arizona regional coordinator for the Planetary Society, at-large director for the National Space Society, president of the Arizona regional coordinator for the Planetary Society, at-large director for the National Space Society, president of the Phoenix chapter of the National Space Society, commander of the Family Living Analysis on Mars Expedition and co-founder of the non-profit organization, Astronauts4Hire.