Water on the Moon, Ares I-X, Logistics on ISS – Future Aspirations Mark 2009

If the first half of 2009 for NASA demonstrated the agency’s unwavering attention to safety, NASA not only continued that trend – upholding the utmost safety standards in the Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs – during the second half of the year but also placed itself and its various programs in a tremendous position for the years to come.

Highlighting the second half of 2009 for NASA was the resolution of the Gaseous Hydrogen leaks at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate on the Shuttle launch pad (which resulted in the successful launch of STS-127/Endeavour in July), the midnight ride of Discovery on STS-128 in August, the amazingly successful test flight of the Ares I-X rocket in October, the discovery of water on the moon in October/November from the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the logistics run of shuttle Atlantis to the ISS in November.

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Atlantis Undocks from Station, Scheduled for Friday Landing

Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station at 4:53 a.m. EST Wednesday, ending a successful resupply visit that included three spacewalks. The total docked time was 6 days, 17 hours and 2 minutes.

Atlantis brought to the station about 14 tons of cargo in its payload bay, including two large carriers with heavy spare parts that were installed on the station. The shuttle also carried about a ton of cargo in its crew cabin. It is bringing home about the same weight of cabin cargo from the orbiting laboratory.

Atlantis Commander Charles Hobaugh, Pilot Barry Wilmore and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman, Robert Satcher Jr. and Nicole Stott are scheduled to land at 9:44 a.m. Friday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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.

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NASA’s Atlantis astronauts take final spacewalk, prepare for return

Heading into their second week of space travel the crew of NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis have a lot on their schedule. Today two of the astronauts will venture out for the mission’s third and final space walk.

During the spacewalks the crew perform a variety of physical tasks to the outside of the International Space Station. For example, Atlantis is carrying two ‘ spare parts container known as the Express Logistics Carriers. The shuttle’s robotic arm lifted them into place and the spacewalkers helped attach them to the ISS. In all there are 27,250 pounds worth of spare parts onboard this mission.

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Wired: This Week In Space

Good day everyone and welcome to the inaugural edition of “This Week In Space”. A place to check in on events happening within the world’s space programs in the upcoming week. Every week we’ll try to capture as many planned launch events, landing events, activities with different missions, and other activities as we can. We’ll never capture everything but hopefully we will consistently give our readers a resource for educational activities, events, and other information.

Launches (Source: Spaceflight Now World Launch Schedule)

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NASA news: astronauts send their first tweets from outer space

NASA astronauts atlantis sts-129

How cool is it when the Atlantis astronauts can share their mission experiences with us Earthlings, right from space? That’s right. Yup. Who would have believed it possible? NASA astronauts Leland Melvin and Robert Satcher are sending tweets from outer space while on their STS-129 mission. These messages are a great way to keep your kids interested in the on-going mission.

Read the rest and see their Tweets here…

Astronauts install spare antenna and do maintenance on space station

Two astronauts breezed through the first spacewalk of their mission Thursday as they upgraded the International Space Station with a spare antenna and other gear.

Atlantis shuttle astronauts Mike Foreman and Robert Satcher Jr. zoomed through more than six hours of orbital work outside the station to install the large antenna and connect some new data cables. At times, they were two hours ahead of schedule.

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Shuttle Atlantis STS-129 takes off into Space, just as scheduled #nasatweetup

Atlantis STS-129 launch 11-16-2009

Space shuttle Atlantis rocketed into orbit Monday with six astronauts and a full load of spare parts for the International Space Station.

The supply run should keep the space station humming for years to come, and the shuttle astronauts in space through Thanksgiving.

Atlantis shot into a partly cloudy afternoon sky, to the delight of about 100 Twittering space enthusiasts who won front-row seats. It was NASA’s first launch “tweetup,” and the invitees splashed news — mostly tweeting “wow” about the liftoff — over countless cellphones and computers.

Read the article at the Globe and Mail