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Monday, 16 November 2009 15:31

NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches at Kennedy Space Center

Written by  Peter McDonald
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Space Shuttle AtlantisNASA launched the space shuttle Atlantis on Monday, November 16th at 2:28 p.m. from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Atlantis will deliver a six-member crew to the International Space Station. The flight, which is Atlantis’s 31st mission, will take 11 days to reach the International Space Station. 

Atlantis will transport spare hardware to the International Space Station. 30,000 pounds of replacement parts for systems that provide power to the station, keep it from overheating, and maintain a proper orientation in space are currently aboard the space shuttle.

The STS-129 mission will also include three spacewalks and will and install two platforms on the International station's truss, or backbone. This platform will hold spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttle fleet is retired.

Atlantis will retrieve astronaut Nicole Stott from the International Space Station. Stott, a Clearwater native, has been in space for more than two months. This will mark the final time the space shuttle is expected to rotate station crew members.

The Atlantis crew includes Commander Charlie Hobaugh, Pilot BarryAstronaut Nicole Stott E. Wilmore and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman and Bobby Satcher. Wilmore, Bresnik and Satcher are first-time space fliers.

"We appreciate all the effort making this launch attempt possible. We are excited to take this incredible vehicle for a ride to another incredible vehicle, the ISS," Commander Charlie Hobaugh said shortly before launch.

The first landing opportunity for Atlantis is scheduled for Friday, November 27th at 9:43 a.m. at Kennedy Space Center.

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