Spaceflight Now



The Mission




Orbiter: Atlantis
Mission: STS-115
Launch: Sept. 9, 2006
Time: 11:15 a.m. EDT (1515 GMT)
Site: Pad 39B, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: Sept. 21 @ 6:21 a.m. EDT (1021 GMT)
Site: Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC
Earlier Mission Coverage

Mission Status Center

Shuttle Launch Schedule

Master Flight Plan

NASA TV Schedule

Launch Countdown

STS-115 Quick-Look

Launch Windows Chart

Ascent Data Packet

Rendezvous Timeline

Key Personnel List

Shuttle Flight History

Launch/Landing Chart

STS-121 Archive

STS-114 Archive



The Crew




Veteran shuttle commander Brent Jett leads a six-person crew launching aboard Atlantis for the STS-115 mission.

Crew Quick-Look

CDR: Brent Jett

PLT: Chris Ferguson

MS 1: Joe Tanner

MS 2: Dan Burbank

MS 3: Heide Piper

MS 4: Steve MacLean

Manned Spaceflights

Current Demographics

Projected Demographics

Spacewalk Statistics




BY JUSTIN RAY

Follow the flight of space shuttle Atlantis to resume orbital construction of the International Space Station with delivery of the next solar array truss.

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: SHUTTLE ATLANTIS GLIDES TO SAFE LANDING PLAY
VIDEO: LONGER LENGTH MOVIE OF ATLANTIS' RETURN PLAY
VIDEO: VIEW FROM RUNWAY MID-POINT PLAY
VIDEO: CAMERA ON SOUTH END OF RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: VIEW FROM VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LANDING WITH NATURAL SOUND FROM THE RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: SUN RISES OVER ATLANTIS ON BEAUTIFUL MORNING PLAY
VIDEO: NASA OFFICIALS EXAMINE ATLANTIS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS WELCOMED HOME PLAY
VIDEO: CREW WALKS AROUND ATLANTIS PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS THE RUNWAY PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LANDING NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ATLANTIS TOWED BACK TO HANGAR PLAY

VIDEO: LAUNCH AS SEEN BY HIGH-ALTITUDE WB-57 AIRCRAFT PLAY
VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER CAM: STARBOARD INWARD PLAY
VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER CAM: STARBOARD UPWARD PLAY
VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER CAM: STARBOARD DOWNWARD PLAY
VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER CAM: PORT INWARD PLAY
VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER CAM: PORT UPWARD PLAY
VIDEO: SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER CAM: PORT DOWNWARD PLAY
MORE: STS-115 VIDEO COVERAGE
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1715 GMT (1:15 p.m. EDT)

Space shuttle Atlantis are arrived inside Orbiter Processing Facility bay 1 for the start of post-flight deservicing and preparations for its next mission in February. The STS-117 flight launching the Starboard 3/Starboard 4 power module and solar arrays to the International Space Station will be Atlantis' 28th voyage to orbit.

1630 GMT (12:30 p.m. EDT)

Atlantis is just outside the hangar.

1540 GMT (11:40 a.m. EDT)

Shuttle Atlantis is en route to the hangar. Technicians are towing the 200,000-pound craft from the runway to the processing facility right now.

Meanwhile, the astronauts' post-landing meeting with the press is targeted to begin no sooner than 12:30 p.m.

1236 GMT (8:36 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis appears to be in great condition, NASA officials are saying at the post-landing news conference.

1218 GMT (8:18 a.m. EDT)

Commander Brent Jett, pilot Chris Ferguson and mission specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Piper and Steve MacLean have boarded the AstroVan. The astronauts are heading for crew quarters to be reunited with their family members and have some dinner.

They will spend the night here in Florida before heading back to Houston tomorrow. A welcoming ceremony is planned for 12 noon local time in Hangar 990 at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center. That event is open to the public.

NASA is planning a post-landing press briefing from Kennedy Space Center at about 8:30 a.m. EDT. That will be followed later today with the crew's post-flight news conference around 11:45 a.m. EDT.

1204 GMT (8:04 a.m. EDT)

The crew is walking over to Atlantis for the traditional post-landing walkaround inspection of their spacecraft.

1158 GMT (7:58 a.m. EDT)

The astronauts have exited the Crew Transport Vehicle on the runway. They are being welcomed back to Earth by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and other agency officials.

1154 GMT (7:54 a.m. EDT)

The Crew Transport Vehicle carrying the six Atlantis astronauts is driving back from the shuttle. All or at least some of the crew is expected to take the traditional walkaround of Atlantis to inspect the ship on the runway.

1125 GMT (7:25 a.m. EDT)

The ground convoy team on the runway is busy with the standard post-landing activities. The tow of Atlantis toward Orbiter Processing Facility bay 1 is expected to begin around 11 a.m. The shuttle should be back inside its hangar by 12:30 p.m.

The ship's next mission is STS-117 to deliver the next set of solar wings to the space station. That launch is currently targeted for February 22.

1112 GMT (7:12 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle Atlantis dropped out of a clear, dark sky and glided to an eerie predawn landing today at the Kennedy Space Center, wrapping up a successful space station assembly mission that kicks off a complex sequence of construction flights.

With commander Brent Jett at the controls, Atlantis settled to a tire-smoking touchdown on runway 33 at 6:21:30 a.m., just 15 minutes after the space station, now sporting a huge new set of solar arrays, sailed through the predawn sky over Florida, a brilliant "star" rivaling Venus or Jupiter in brightness.

As Jett guided the 100-ton spaceplane down the 3-mile-long runway at more than 200 mph, pilot Chris Ferguson fired the ship's braking parachute, the nose dropped to the landing strip and a few moments later, Atlantis rolled to a stop.

Read our full story.

1104 GMT (7:04 a.m. EDT)

Commander Brent Jett is signing off to egress his ship.

1100 GMT (7:00 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' crew hatch has been opened and the astronauts are climbing out.

1057 GMT (6:57 a.m. EDT)

Here are the landing times in Eastern Daylight Time and Mission Elapsed Time:

Main Gear Touchdown
6:21:30 a.m. EDT
MET: 11 days, 19 hours, 6 minutes, 35 seconds

Nose Gear Touchdown
6:21:36 a.m. EDT
MET: 11 days, 19 hours, 6 minutes, 41 seconds

Wheels Stop
6:22:16 a.m. EDT
MET: 11 days, 19 hours, 7 minutes, 21 seconds

The shuttle traveled 4.9 million miles.

1049 GMT (6:49 a.m. EDT)

The Crew Transport Vehicle -- a modified airport "People Mover" -- has pulled up to the side hatch for the astronauts to enter. The CTV features beds and comfortable seats for the astronauts to receive medical checks after returning to Earth's gravity from the weightless environment of space.

1045 GMT (6:45 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' vent doors are being repositioned.

1043 GMT (6:43 a.m. EDT)

The crew is beginning to power down the onboard computers.

1039 GMT (6:39 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' three Auxiliary Power Units have been shut down.

1035 GMT (6:35 a.m. EDT)

The main engine nozzles are being repositioned, or gimbaled, to the "rain drain" orientation. And the crew has been given a "go" to climb out of their entry spacesuits.

1031 GMT (6:31 a.m. EDT)

The ship's flight computers are transitioning to the OPS-9 software package.

1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' body flap is being set.

1029 GMT (6:29 a.m. EDT)

The side hatch, drag chute and landing gear pyrotechnics have been safed.

1027 GMT (6:27 a.m. EDT)

On the runway, technicians have arrived with instruments to "sniff" the shuttle's exterior to check for any hazardous vapors.

1025 GMT (6:25 a.m. EDT)

The crew is beginning the post-landing procedures on Atlantis. The external tank umbilical doors on the shuttle's belly are being opened and the ship's thruster systems are being safed.

1022 GMT (6:22 a.m. EDT)

WHEEL STOP. Atlantis is home!

1021 GMT (6:21 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is rolling down Runway 33 to complete its 12-day mission that restarted orbital construction of the International Space Station by delivering a power-generating module and deploying two solar wings.

1021 GMT (6:21 a.m. EDT)

TOUCHDOWN! Main gear touchdown. Drag chute deployed. Nose gear touchdown.

1021 GMT (6:21 a.m. EDT)

Landing gear down and locked. Standing by for touchdown on Runway 33.

1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)

Wings are level. Altitude 2,000 feet.

1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle descending at a rate seven times steeper than that of a commercial airliner.

1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)

Field in sight. Commander Brent Jett can see the runway as he guides Atlantis to landing.

1019 GMT (6:19 a.m. EDT)

Commander Brent Jett is in control after pilot Chris Ferguson got a few moments of stick time.

1019 GMT (6:19 a.m. EDT)

Altitude 22,000 feet as Atlantis makes the sweeping turn.

1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)

Long-range infrared tracking cameras have sighted Atlantis.

1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)

Runway 33 is a southeast to northwest approach.

1017 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle is in the Heading Alignment Cylinder, an imaginary circle to align with Runway 33. The crew is piloting Atlantis through a 300-degree right-overhead turn.

1017 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT)

The sonic booms have thundered across the Cape area, announcing the shuttle's arrival.

1016 GMT (6:16 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis remains on course. Speed 760 mph.

1015 GMT (6:15 a.m. EDT)

Six minutes to landing. Atlantis is flying 14 miles over Central Florida at a speed just under Mach 2.

1013 GMT (6:13 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle's speed has decreased to 2,500 mph now.

1013 GMT (6:13 a.m. EDT)

Eight minutes to touchdown. Air data probes are being deployed from the shuttle's nose to feed air speed, altitude and angle of attack information to the computers for navigation.

1012 GMT (6:12 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is traveling at 4,300 mph, 25 miles in altitude, 225 miles from the runway.

1011 GMT (6:11 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is now making landfall over Florida's southwest coastline near Naples.

1011 GMT (6:11 a.m. EDT)

The TACAN navigation units aboard Atlantis are now receiving data from beacons located at the landing site.

1010 GMT (6:10 a.m. EDT)

320 miles to the runway.

1010 GMT (6:10 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis remains on the proper track for landing in 11 minutes. Mission Control computes Atlantis will land 2,600 feet down the runway at 195 knots.

1008 GMT (6:08 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is flying northwest of Cuba, 500 miles from the runway.

1007 GMT (6:07 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle is crossing the Gulf now at 10,000 mph and an altitude 35 miles.

1004 GMT (6:04 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is crossing the Yucatan Peninsula. Soon it will cross the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall nar Naples, Florida for the final minutes to landing.

1003 GMT (6:03 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is 41 miles up, 1,400 miles from the runway, traveling at 13,500 mph.

1002 GMT (6:02 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle is experiencing maximum heating as it descends through an altitude of 43 miles at a speed of Mach 21.

1000 GMT (6:00 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis has crossed the equator over the central Pacific.

0959 GMT (5:59 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis descending through an altitude of 45 miles.

0957 GMT (5:57 a.m. EDT)

International Space Station flight engineer Jeff Williams reports seeing the fiery contrail of Atlantis' entry into the atmosphere. The shuttle has been orbiting 200 miles from the station.

0956 GMT (5:56 a.m. EDT)

Time to touchdown now 25 minutes. Altitude is 250,000 feet. Speed is 16,500 mph.

0955 GMT (5:55 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is beginning the first of four banks to scrub off speed as it plunges into the atmosphere. These turns basically remove the energy Atlantis built up during launch. This first bank is to the left.

0954 GMT (5:54 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is 50 miles above the Pacific, 3,700 miles from the runway, traveling at 16,900 mph.

0953 GMT (5:53 a.m. EDT)

Altitude now 58 miles.

0950 GMT (5:50 a.m. EDT)

ENTRY INTERFACE. Atlantis' thermal protection system is feeling heat beginning to build as the orbiter enters the top fringes of the atmosphere -- a period known as entry interface.

The shuttle is flying at Mach 25 with its nose elevated 40 degrees, wings level, at an altitude of 400,000 feet over the southern Pacific Ocean and descending at a rate of over 600 feet per second.

Touchdown is set for 6:21 a.m. EDT in Florida.

0943 GMT (5:43 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is 122 statute miles in altitude.

0941 GMT (5:41 a.m. EDT)

Now 40 minutes to touchdown. Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility was built in 1975. The concrete strip is 300 feet wide and 15,000 feet long with 1,000-foot overruns at each end. The runway runs northwest to southeast and is located about three miles northwest of the 525-foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building.

0935 GMT (5:35 a.m. EDT)

Onboard guidance has maneuvered Atlantis from its heads-down, tail-forward position needed for the deorbit burn to the reentry configuration of heads-up and nose-forward. The nose will be pitched upward 40 degrees. In this new position, the black tiles on the shuttle's belly and the reinforced carbon-carbon panels on the wing leading edges and nose cap will shield the spacecraft during the fiery plunge through the Earth's atmosphere with temperatures reaching well over 2,000 degrees F. Atlantis will begin interacting with the upper fringes of the atmosphere above the South Pacific at 5:50 a.m. EDT.

0933 GMT (5:33 a.m. EDT)

The convoy of landing support vehicles has been positioned at runway staging point for receiving Atlantis. The team checked out their equipment on Tuesday. A sweep of the runway to clear any debris was performed Wednesday and again this morning.

0926 GMT (5:26 a.m. EDT)

The forward reaction control system fuel dump is complete.

0924 GMT (5:24 a.m. EDT)

Excess propellant reserves in the maneuvering thrusters on the shuttle's nose will be dumped overboard. The dump time will be 84 seconds.

0921 GMT (5:21 a.m. EDT)

Touchdown is 60 minutes away. This will be the 63rd shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center and the 15th to occur in darkness.

0919 GMT (5:19 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis now maneuvering to the orientation for entry.

0917 GMT (5:17 a.m. EDT)

DEORBIT BURN COMPLETE. Atlantis has successfully completed the deorbit burn, committing the shuttle for its journey back to Earth. Landing is scheduled for 6:21 a.m. EDT at the Cape.

0914 GMT (5:14 a.m. EDT)

DEORBIT BURN IGNITION. Flying upside down and backwards 217 miles above the Indian Ocean, Atlantis has begun the deorbit burn. The firing of the twin orbital maneuvering system engines on the tail of the shuttle will last two minutes and 40 seconds, slowing the craft to slip from orbit. The retro-burn will send Atlantis to Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a touchdown at 6:21 a.m. EDT.

0910 GMT (5:10 a.m. EDT)

Pilot Chris Ferguson is activating one of three Auxiliary Power Units in advance of the deorbit burn, now four minutes away. The other two APUs will be started later in the descent to provide pressure needed to power shuttle's hydraulic systems that move the wing flaps, rudder/speed brake, drop the landing gear and steer the nose wheel. NASA ensures that at least one APU is working before committing to the deorbit burn since the shuttle needs only a single unit to make a safe landing.

0900 GMT (5:00 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis has maneuvered for the deorbit burn.

0853 GMT (4:53 a.m. EDT)

GO FOR THE DEORBIT BURN! Space shuttle Atlantis is heading home this morning as scheduled. Entry flight director Steve Stich in Mission Control just gave the "go" to perform the deorbit burn at 5:14:23 a.m. EDT to commit the shuttle for the trip back to Earth.

The upcoming 2-minute, 40-second retrograde burn using the twin orbital maneuvering system engines on the tail of Atlantis will slow the shuttle's velocity by about 300 feet per second, just enough to slip the craft out of orbit and begin the plunge into the atmosphere.

Atlantis is headed to a landing at 6:21 a.m. EDT on Runway 33 at Kennedy Space Center to close out the 11-day, 19-hour, 6-minute mission. Touchdown will occur about 45 minutes before sunrise.

0844 GMT (4:44 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' vent doors are being closed for entry. And pilot Chris Ferguson has put the Auxiliary Power Units cockpit switches in the ready-to-start configuration.

0838 GMT (4:38 a.m. EDT)

A steering check of the Atlantis' twin orbital maneuvering system engines on the tail of the shuttle is being performed. The engines will perform the deorbit burn to slow the ship for entry into the atmosphere this morning.

0821 GMT (4:21 a.m. EDT)

Now two hours from landing.

0811 GMT (4:11 a.m. EDT)

Commander Brent Jett reports the crew has completed the deorbit preparations timeline this morning. Mission Control says weather continues to look good at the landing site. The only slight concern is the formation of fog.

0745 GMT (3:45 a.m. EDT)

After donning the bright orange launch and entry suits for their homecoming, the crew will follow their fluid loading protocol of drinking large amounts of liquids and salt tablets to assist in the readaptation to Earth's gravity.

0714 GMT (3:14 a.m. EDT)

Now two hours away from the scheduled firing of Atlantis' twin orbital maneuvering system engines to drop from orbit. The burn begins at 5:14:28 a.m. EDT and will two minutes and 40 seconds. Landing is still set for Kennedy Space Center's Runway 33 at 6:21 a.m. EDT.

The weather outlook calls for clear skies, good visibility and light northwesterly winds for the predawn homecoming.

A final "go" or "no go" call from Mission Control whether to proceed with the deorbit burn is expected by 5 a.m. EDT.

0712 GMT (3:12 a.m. EDT)

Commander Brent Jett says the crew is ready to begin suiting up. Mission Control says it is time to start.

0651 GMT (2:51 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle's main flight computers have completed the switch to the entry software package.

0635 GMT (2:35 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' clam-shell-like payload bay doors have been closed and locked in preparation for today's fiery descent into Earth's atmosphere and landing at Kennedy Space Center.

The weather forecast continues to look good and there are no technical problems to report. Touchdown is scheduled for 6:21 a.m. EDT.

Meanwhile, Mission Control has given the crew a "go" to transition the onboard computers from the OPS-2 software used during the shuttle's stay in space to OPS-3, which is the software package that governs entry and landing. And Atlantis will soon maneuver to a new orientation in space to improve the communications link with NASA's orbiting data relay satellites.

0624 GMT (2:24 a.m. EDT)

Mission Control has given the crew a "go" to close the payload bay doors for this morning's return of Atlantis.

0200 GMT (10:00 p.m. EDT Wed.)

The crew was just awakened with a Better Than Ezra tune to begin landing day. Atlantis is due on the runway at 6:21 a.m. EDT.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2006
1722 GMT (1:22 p.m. EDT)


The Atlantis astronauts were cleared today for a day-late landing Thursday at the Kennedy Space Center after a tedious robot-arm inspection showed the ship's heat shield was in good shape. The unusual inspection was ordered and the flight extended one day after an unknown object, presumably from Atlantis, was spotted early Tuesday flying just below the shuttle.

Read our update story.

1601 GMT (12:01 p.m. EDT)

Shuttle program boss Wayne Hale says the management team has cleared Atlantis for entry tomorrow. No damage was found in today's inspections. Landing at Kennedy Space Center is targeted for 6:21 a.m. EDT.

1455 GMT (10:55 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis' high-speed Ku-band communications antenna has been retracted into the payload bay for landing.

1340 GMT (9:40 a.m. EDT)

Despite spotting more debris floating near the shuttle Atlantis, astronauts conducting a detailed heat shield inspection have not seen any signs of damage that would prevent a day-late landing Thursday. NASA's Mission Management Team will meet later this morning to discuss the results of the inspection and whether to press ahead with re-entry preparations.

Read our update story.

1320 GMT (9:20 a.m. EDT)

After a long night of double-checking their spacecraft's heat shield for re-entry, the shuttle Atlantis astronauts have completed the inspections, returned the sensor boom to the payload bay and downlinked all of the video to flight controllers.

The crew will resume stowing equipment and packing before going to bed at 1:45 p.m. They are scheduled to be awakened for landing day 9:45 p.m. EDT tonight.

1150 GMT (7:50 a.m. EDT)

The crew is checking the shuttle's wing flaps with the inspection boom cameras. That was something not reachable with the shuttle arm this morning.

1035 GMT (6:35 a.m. EDT)

An impromptu robot arm inspection of the shuttle Atlantis early today revealed no obvious problems with the ship's critical heat shield, but mission managers ordered additional inspections with a long sensor boom to make absolutely sure.

Read our update story.

1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)

The boom has been unberthed. This is the third time the OBSS has been used to inspect Atlantis' heat shield.

1009 GMT (6:09 a.m. EDT)

The robot arm has grappled the sensor boom in preparation for lifting the OBSS out of the payload bay.

0958 GMT (5:58 a.m. EDT)

The decision to use the OBSS inspection boom was made because there is enough time available to do so. Although no problems were noted with the heat shield during observations with the shuttle arm camera, the boom can reach some areas of the vehicle better. The timeline schedules about three hours for these additional inspections today.

0955 GMT (5:55 a.m. EDT)

Mission mangers have decided to unberth the Orbiter Boom Sensor System for closer inspections of Atlantis.

0918 GMT (5:18 a.m. EDT)

The tile shim, a leading candidate for being the mystery object, was not seen on the belly of Atlantis this morning. The plastic shim was protruding from the shuttle during the inspections performed on station rendezvous day last week.

0850 GMT (4:50 a.m. EDT)

Mission Control says imagery experts are examining the video from today's inspection to determine if the views are sufficient or if the sensor-laden sensor boom needs to be deployed for further looks at the heat shield.

0846 GMT (4:46 a.m. EDT)

The Atlantis crew inspected the shuttle's belly while NASA Television was switched to Moscow waiting for Soyuz hatch opening. The arm is back in the payload bay. We're waiting to hear what the crew saw and whether the shim was still hanging in place as seen earlier in the mission.

0834 GMT (4:34 a.m. EDT)

The hatchway between the Soyuz capsule and Zvevda service module of the station was just opened as Expedition 14 boards the outpost.

0750 GMT (3:50 a.m. EDT)

Atlantis is flying in orbital darkness right now. The crew is waiting for sunrise to begin scanning the shuttle's underside.

0720 GMT (3:20 a.m. EDT)

The tedious inspection work continues on he port side of Atlantis. Next, the crew will maneuver the arm beneath the orbiter to look at the belly tiles.

0641 GMT (2:41 a.m. EDT)

Mission Control now confirms that the crew has not reported seeing anything out of ordinary during the starboard side inspections. The port side checks are getting underway.

0625 GMT (2:25 a.m. EDT)

The robot arm is parked next to the crew module hatch while the astronauts wait for orbital sunrise to resume the inspections.

0610 GMT (2:10 a.m. EDT)

NASA Television has returned to shuttle mission coverage after showing the Russian post-docking news conference. The Atlantis crew has completed the starboard wing leading edge and nose cap inspections. The arm is looking at the port side of the ship's nose now. There has been no word from Mission Control on what, if anything, the crew has spotted during the observations.

0521 GMT (1:21 a.m. EDT)

DOCKING. The Russian Soyuz TMA-9 spacecraft carrying Expedition 14 commander Mike Lopez-Alegria, cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and space tourist Anousheh Ansari has docked to the International Space Station, capping a two-day flight from Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin have arrived at the station to begin a six-month mission and replace outgoing Expedition 13 crewmates Pavel Vinogradov and Jeff Williams.

Ansari will enjoy a week on the station before returning to Earth next Thursday with Vinogradov and Williams.

0515 GMT (1:15 a.m. EDT)

The capsule is 66 meters from the station.

0512 GMT (1:12 a.m. EDT)

Soyuz has begun the final approach to docking with the space station's Zvezda service module.

0445 GMT (12:45 a.m. EDT)

NASA has stopped providing live coverage of the space shuttle mission and heat shield inspections to show the Soyuz spacecraft arrival at the space station. Updates are supposed to resume from Houston after the post-docking news conference.

0420 GMT (12:20 a.m. EDT)

The shuttle's robot arm is moving into position next to the starboard wing to begin today's inspections.

0225 GMT (10:25 p.m. EDT Tues.)

The Atlantis astronauts were awakened late Tuesday by a recording of U2's "Beautiful Day" beamed up from mission control in Houston. Flight controllers promptly informed the astronauts they would be carrying out an inspection to look for signs of possible damage after two unidentified objects were spotted floating away from Atlantis earlier in the day.

"Good morning, Houston," called Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, before a morning update from mission control. "And it really is a beautiful day, I think any day in space is a beautiful day and hopefully tomorrow, it will be a beautiful day in Florida and we'll be back home."

European Space Agency astronaut Hans Schlegel in mission control then radioed up the "big picture" for today's activity, telling the crew engineers still don't know the identity of debris seen below the shuttle early today and a second object seen separating from the spacecraft shortly after noon.

Read our latest story.

0145 GMT (9:45 p.m. EDT Tues.)

Wakeup music -- U2's "Beautiful Day" -- is playing to the crew right now to begin flight day 12.

Read our earlier status center coverage.



Status Summary
Atlantis is home! The shuttle made a safe landing at 6:21 a.m. EDT on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 33.

The braking rockets fired for 2 minutes, 40 seconds to complete the deorbit burn.


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