The mighty Titan — a pillar in American rocketry for five decades — flew into orbit for the final time Wednesday, capping a distinguished career of heavy-lifting that has spanned the nation’s space age.
Astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Terry Virts floated outside the International Space Station Wednesday for the second of three spacewalks to help ready the complex for dockings by commercial crew capsules. Back inside the station’s airlock, Virts reported a small amount of water in his space helmet, but officials said he was not in any danger.
NASA considering June 2011 for possible shuttle flight BY WILLIAM HARWOOD STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION Posted: August 20, 2010
Awaiting word on whether one additional shuttle flight will be approved by Congress and the Obama administration, NASA managers are protectively considering June 28, 2011, for launch of shuttle Atlantis on a rescue mission if a major problem threatens the crew of the final planned shuttle flight in late February. If not, and if NASA gets the required funding, the agency would launch Atlantis on an actual space station resupply mission to close out the shuttle program.
As it now stands, only two more shuttle flights are officially planned. The shuttle Discovery is scheduled for launch Nov. 1 on mission STS-133, a flight to deliver spare parts and a cargo storage module to the International Space Station. The shuttle Endeavour is set for takeoff Feb. 26 on mission STS-134 to deliver more spares, supplies and a $1.5 billion physics experiment known as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
Endeavour will serve as the rescue vehicle for Discovery's crew and Atlantis will be on standby for the Endeavour astronauts. The launch-on-need mission, known as STS-335, had been targeted for launch in late April. But NASA managers began processing an official "change request" Friday that would move the rescue/resupply flight to June 28, 2011. If the additional flight is funded, the mission designation would change to STS-135.
By launching with a crew of four astronauts instead of six or seven, NASA would not need another shuttle on standby for rescue duty. If a major problem cropped up during Atlantis' mission, the astronauts could seek safe haven aboard the International Space Station and rotate home aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft.