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Final Atlantis shuttle flight on Friday
May 11, 2010
8:11 am
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Astronauts Arrive in Florida for Final Planned Launch of Shuttle Atlantis
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Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Fark Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Bookmarks .Print .. Reuters – Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-132's crew (from L-R), mission specialists Michael Good, Garrett Reisman, …
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Robert Z. Pearlman Contributor robert Z. Pearlman Contributor – Mon May 10, 11:00 pm ET
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The astronauts who will fly the space shuttle Atlantis' final planned mission arrived at their Florida launch site late Monday, four days ahead of their scheduled liftoff.

Commander Ken Ham led his STS-132 mission crewmates to a 6:49 p.m. EDT (2300 GMT) landing on the Shuttle Landing Facility here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the same runway where he will ultimately land Atlantis for the spacecraft's last time.

The astronauts came to Florida from the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, flying in four T-38 training jets. They are due to launch Atlantis' final mission Friday, May 14, at 2:20 p.m. EDT (1820 GMT).

"We are ready to launch," Ham told reporters gathered at the landing strip. "We've completed every bit of training we can and we're confident."

"Look for a good show on Friday," he added.

Ham, STS-132 pilot Dominic "Tony" Antonelli and mission specialists Steven Bowen, Garrett Reisman, Michael Good and Piers Sellers will deliver and install the Russian Mini-Research Module-1, also called "Rassvet" (which means "Dawn" in Russian) during their 12-day flight to the International Space Station.

Before that can happen though, an unmanned resupply spacecraft needed to undock from the station, which it did earlier today, and the outpost's crew will need to reposition one of their Soyuz spacecraft to open the port where Atlantis' crew will berth the new Russian module.

"All that's got to happen in the next few days before we get off the ground," Ham said. "So once again, we're in a situation where there is a heck of a lot going on in space... and it's pretty darn cool."

The activity will only increase during the STS-132 mission. Bowen, Good and Reisman are scheduled to conduct three spacewalks -- two each in pairs of two -- to configure spare parts outside the station, replace batteries for one of the solar array wings, and add new hands to the Canadian-built robot, Dextre.

While spacecraft are being shuffled in space, the STS-132 astronauts will spend their next few days at Kennedy reviewing final procedures for their mission. Ham and space-shuttle-atlantis-crew-arrive-100510 will practice landing Atlantis by flying the Shuttle Training Aircraft, a modified Gulfstream II aircraft that mimics the handling and controls that they will find on-board Atlantis.

Although the countdown to Atlantis' liftoff won't begin until 4:00 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) Tuesday, attention is already focused on when the STS-132 mission will end, as it will mark the finale for Atlantis' 25-year spaceflight career. Unless the shuttle is called into emergency service for the very last space shuttle mission, STS-134, Atlantis' STS-132 mission will be its last.

NASA is shutting down the shuttle program this year, a decision that was made in the wake of the Columbia accident in 2003. President Obama has proposed replacing the shuttle fleet with commercial launch services to taxi astronauts to and from the space station.

STS-132 is the 132nd flight of the shuttle program and the 32nd mission for Atlantis.

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May 15, 2010
8:24 pm
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This is of great sadness to me personally. The facts of this story are not totally true, Rocketdyne began building these motors in the 70', and has been building these motors since that time constantly. Many motors were built well after the 80's. They were spares, test motors and replacements after so many flights. They are still today completing the last motor in production, in which I;m guessing can not be fully completed before the last flight.

Rocketdyne began in the 50's, and produced all the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo motors. Its the end of an era of United States Manned Spaceflight. The skill level base of my company and other great space and areospace companies is dwindling away, and our edge on technology along with it.

Its sad and a serious issue that will affect the future of this country.

Shuttle engine made in Canoga Park nearing its end
Daily News Wire Services
Posted: 05/15/2010 10:29:45 AM PDT
Updated: 05/15/2010 10:42:42 AM PDT

CANOGA PARK - The launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis from Florida on Friday may have marked the end of the road, after 32 flights, for a trio of rocket engines built in the San Fernando Valley, according to its manufacturer.

The Space Shuttle fleet's main engines were all built in the early 1980s at the North American Rockwell company's Rocketdyne plant on Canoga Avenue. Since then, the reusable engines have travelled million of miles in space and remain the nation's only rocket engines rated safe for human travel.

Atlantis was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center and carried the Russian Rassvet Mini-Research Module to the International Space Station. The Rassvet module will be primarily used for cargo storage and as a docking port for visiting spacecraft.

"The Space Shuttle Main Engines performed as predicted," said Jim Paulsen, SSME program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "We're very proud to have helped boost Rassvet to the International Space Station; this mission embodies the very nature of the international partnership that has made the international space station successful."

After being sold to Boeing in 1995, the Rocketdyne rocket engine plant was sold to Pratt and Whitney in 2005 and is now owned by that aviation propulsion company.

May 23, 2010
7:05 pm
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Shuttle Atlantis departs from space station
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Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Fark Newsvine Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Bookmarks .Print .. AP – In this image taken from NASA television, the space shuttle Atlantis, top left, moves away from the International …
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By Irene Klotz Irene Klotz – 30 mins ago
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – Space shuttle Atlantis departed the International Space Station on Sunday, leaving behind what one astronaut called a "palace" in space that is 98 percent finished after 12 years of construction.

The shuttle and six U.S. astronauts are due to land back at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday.

The flight is the final space mission for Atlantis, with sister ships Discovery and Endeavour scheduled for their last missions in September and November.

U.S. space agency NASA is retiring the shuttles for cost and safety issues, and because the heavy transporters are no longer needed once the space station, a $100 billion project involving 16 nations, is complete.

"This place is now a palace," Atlantis astronaut Piers Sellers said on Sunday in a call from space with reporters. "I've had great fun exploring it. It's really magnificent."

Atlantis arrived at the station on May 16 to deliver a new Russian-built docking module and research lab, fresh batteries for a solar power system, a spare communications antenna, a new platform for a robotic crane, science experiments and supplies for the station's six member live-aboard crew.

The module Rassvet (Russian for "dawn") was attached robotically with the station's mechanical arm. The batteries and antenna were installed outside the station during three spacewalks by Atlantis crewmembers.

"We've had a great time together," Atlantis commander Ken Ham said before he and his crewmates bid the station crew goodbye. "We'll see you all on the surface of planet Earth again soon."

The shuttle departed the station at 11:22 a.m. EDT (4:22 p.m. British time), as the ships sailed 222 miles over the Indian Ocean.

On its return to Earth, Atlantis will be prepared for flight as an emergency rescue ship for the final shuttle mission, but is not expected to launch.

Cargo runs to the station will be turned over to Russian, European and Japanese ships until a U.S. commercial carrier is ready to fly. Crew transport already is being handled exclusively by Russia, which charges $51 million a seat.

President Barack Obama's administration wants to turn over station taxi services to U.S. private companies.

Space Exploration Technologies, one of two firms holding NASA contracts for spaceship development and cargo delivery services to the station, plans a test flight of its Falcon 9 rocket as early as this Friday.

May 26, 2010
6:17 pm
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Atlantis has made its final safe landing. Cry

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