Successful Launch for Atlantis; News Conference Coming UpFri, 14 May 2010 11:53:46 AM PDT
Space shuttle Atlantis is officially in orbit, kicking off its STS-132 mission and the pursuit of its target, the International Space Station. Atlantis lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center right on time at 2:20 p.m. EDT, rising into a picture-perfect Florida sky and capping a relatively problem-free countdown.
NASA Television will air the STS-132 postlaunch news conference at 3:30 p.m. EDT with Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, Alexey Krasnov, chief of Piloted Programs Directorate, Roscosmos, Mike Moses, chair, prelaunch Mission Management Team, and Mike Leinbach, shuttle launch director.
Space Shuttle Mission: STS-132 Image above: Liftoff of space shuttle Atlantis on its STS-132 mission. Launch was on time at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Image credit: NASA TV
Space shuttle Atlantis is embarking on its final planned mission. During the 12-day flight, Atlantis and six astronauts will fly to the International Space Station, leaving behind a Russian Mini Research Module, a set of batteries for the station's truss and dish antenna, along with other replacement parts.
NASA astronaut Ken Ham will command an all-veteran flight crew: Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Michael Good, Garrett Reisman, Piers Sellers and Steve Bowen.
After the final STS-132 Flight Readiness Review, John Shannon, Space Shuttle Program manager, pointed out that Atlantis' last planned mission will be an exciting one.
"Twelve days, three [spacewalks], tons of robotics... We're putting on spares that make us feel good about the long-term sustainability of the ISS, replacing batteries that have been up there for a while, and docking a Russian-built ISS module," Shannon said. "This flight has a little bit of everything, and it's been a great preparation for the team."