[sarex] Atlantis Heads Home
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Mon Jul 2 04:22:29 PDT 2007
SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/c#31468
Atlantis Heads Home
Space Shuttle Atlantis atop NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Image
above: NASA's modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with Atlantis on top
lift offs to begin its ferry-flight back to Kennedy Space Center in
Florida. Photo Credit: NASA/Carla Thomas
+ View Larger Image
07.01.07 12:30 p.m. EDT
Early Sunday morning, Space Shuttle Atlantis began its journey back to
Kennedy Space Center "piggy-backed" on top of a modified 747 jetliner
called the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
The enroute plan includes refueling stops and a stop overnight. The
anticipated arrival at the Kennedy Space Center will be no earlier than
Monday July 2 with a possibility of arriving Tuesday July 3 if weather
conditions are not favorable for a Monday landing.
Atlantis landed at Edwards concluding a successful assembly mission to
the International Space Station with Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot
Lee Archambault at the controls. Atlantis landed at 3:49 p.m. EDT on
The STS-117 mission astronauts returned to Johnson Space Center on
Saturday, June 23. Their return was marked by a traditional welcome home
ceremony at Ellington Field in Houston.
The STS-117 crew began its mission June 8 and arrived at the station
June 10. They quickly began work to install the Starboard 3 and 4
(S3/S4) truss structure to the outpost and retracted a set of arrays on
the Port 6 (P6) truss. The (S3/S4) contains a new set of solar arrays
that increases station power-generation capabilities. The P6 will be
relocated during a future assembly mission.
Mission Specialists Patrick Forrester, John "Danny" Olivas, Jim Reilly
and Steven Swanson conducted a total of four spacewalks to activate the
S3/S4 and to retract the P6 arrays. During the third spacewalk, Olivas
repaired an out of position thermal blanket on the left orbital
maneuvering system pod.
Landing also marked the end of a record-setting spaceflight by Mission
Specialist Suni Williams. She broke the record for the longest
spaceflight by a woman and she also became the record-holder for the
most hours outside a spacecraft by a female, completing four spacewalks
during Expedition 14.
Williams' journey began in December with the launch of STS-116. She
lived on the space station for six months before switching places on the
STS-117 crew with Clayton Anderson, who is now a flight engineer on the
station. When Atlantis landed, she had accumulated 194 days, 18 hours
and 58 minutes during her spaceflight.
STS-117 is the 118th shuttle mission and 21st mission to visit the space
station. The next mission, STS-118, is slated to launch in August.
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