Atlantis' payload delivered; astronauts return to Kennedy
Ground teams are preparing for the final part of launch dress rehearsal for the STS-129 mission to the International Space Station.
Provided by NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
October 31, 2009
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the cargo for space shuttle Atlantis' mission to the International Space Station was moved to Launch Pad 39A overnight and will be installed into the shuttle's payload bay.
Technicians will finish testing Atlantis' waste collection system, or toilet, this weekend. Ground teams are getting ready for the final part of launch dress rehearsal known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT.
Today, the STS-129 mission's six astronauts were involved in their final bench review of flight hardware at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and they conducted contingency abort simulation training in the motion base simulator.
The crew will fly to Kennedy Monday afternoon for the completion of TCDT. During their 2 days at Kennedy, they will participate in a simulated launch countdown where they will practice liftoff procedures inside the shuttle. Before returning to Johnson on Tuesday, crew members will practice emergency pad evacuation.
On October 29, NASA managers announced the official launch date and time of November 16 at 2:28 p.m. EST for Atlantis' flight to the space station. The only deviation to this date would be if the planned November 14 launch of an Atlas V rocket from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is delayed. Because the Atlas team has reserved the Eastern Range for November 14 and 15, the shuttle's liftoff would move to no earlier than 2:02 p.m. EST November 17.