Monday, October 19, 2009


Atlantis' mission will focus on storing spare hardware on the exterior of the International Space Station. The 11-day flight will include three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the station’s truss, or backbone. The platforms will hold spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired. This equipment is large and can only be transported using the unique capability of the shuttle. Atlantis also will bring back a station crew member after more than two months aboard the orbiting laboratory. This is slated to be the final space shuttle crew rotation flight for the station.
Charlie Hobaugh (hoe-baw)
Barry E. Wilmore
Leland Melvin
Randy Bresnik
Mike Foreman
Robert “Bobby” Satcher
Nicole Stott

For MISSE-7 there are 700 materials samples that will be installed in holders and placed in two experiment trays, called Passive Experiment Containers 7A and 7B.
• The PECs will be mounted on the outside of the station.
• The experiments include tests of spacesuit materials for use on the lunar surface and materials for the solar arrays being designed for the Orion spacecraft.
• This installment of experiments for the MISSE program will be the first to receive power directly from the station and use its communication system to receive commands and downlink data.
• During STS-129, the two platforms that will be installed on the station are known as ExPRESS Logistics
Carriers 1 & 2. EXPRESS stands for “Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station.” Each
ELC can hold up to 9,800 pounds (total with spares, ELC 1: 13,842 lbs, ELC 2: 13,365 lbs). The ELCs hold:
• 2 spare gyroscopes that help maintain the station’s attitude in orbit
• 2 nitrogen tank assemblies used for pressurizing the station's ammonia cooling system
• 2 pump modules for pumping ammonia from a tank through cooling line in the truss
• an ammonia tank assembly. Ammonia is used to move excess heat from inside the station to the radiators located outside.
• a spare latching end effector, or hand, that allows the station's robotic arm to grapple
• a spare trailing umbilical system for the Mobile Transporter, the rail car that the arm travels on.
• a high-pressure gas tank for supplying oxygen for the airlock in support of spacewalks
• Two other ELCs will be delivered next year: one on STS-133 and one on STS-134.
• Shuttle Atlantis also will carry the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Ultra High Frequency Communication Unit. It will be integrated on the station in preparation for Space Exploration Technologies’
(SpaceX) future flights to the orbiting laboratory.
• Developed by SpaceX, in collaboration with NASA, the unit will allow for communication between the station, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft, and ground-based mission control.
• STS-129 is the 2nd flight to carry two African-American astronauts. The first was STS-116, which included Robert Curbeam and Joan Higginbotham.


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