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Orbiter: Atlantis
Mission: STS-135
Payload: Raffaello
Launch: July 8, 2011
Time: 11:29 a.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: July 21 @ approx. 5:57 a.m. EDT
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility
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Mission Status Center

By Justin Ray

Live coverage of space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. Text updates will appear automatically; there is no need to reload the page. Follow us on Twitter.

The Atlantis astronauts inspected the shuttle's heat shield Saturday and fine tuned the shuttle's approach to the International Space Station, setting their sights on docking at the lab's forward port around 11:07 a.m. EDT Sunday.

Read our full story.
2300 GMT (7:00 p.m. EDT)
Flight Day 2 is winding down for the astronauts. They'll be heading into an 8-hour sleep period at 7:29 p.m. EDT. Tomorrow is docking day!
1947 GMT (3:47 p.m. EDT)
Atlantis' reaction control jets have been fired for the NC3 burn to adjust the flight path toward the space station. This maneuver lasted 7 seconds and changed the shuttle's velocity by about 1.5 feet per second.
1905 GMT (3:05 p.m. EDT)
The crew has extended the docking ring that will connect the shuttle's port to the space station, setting up the springs and shock absorbers to do their roles during the link. The astronauts also set up the centerline camera in the docking port to be used in the final approach.
1830 GMT (2:30 p.m. EDT)
"On this, the last shuttle mission of the program, I'm very grateful the spacecraft is behaving as well as it is so we can finish strong, finish safely," flight director Kwatsi Alibaruho says. "My team's number one focus is on ending this mission and ending the program as safely as we have flown past missions. The great condition of the spacecraft is really helping us to do that so far."
1820 GMT (2:20 p.m. EDT)
"We did not see anything, so far, that gave us great pause, nothing that was immediately visible to the naked eye," flight director Kwatsi Alibaruho said about today's inspections. "Now of course, the process of analyzing the data we get from the sensor package on the OBSS (Orbiter Boom Sensor System) takes several hours and we do expect that process to go normally. So we'll hear official word concerning the condition of the reinforced carbon carbon components of the thermal protection system, we'll probably hear that late tomorrow, maybe early in the morning depending on how the engineers are doing. But there was nothing that immediately gave us pause or that we were concerned about going into the inspection."
1654 GMT (12:54 p.m. EDT)
The Orbiter Boom Sensor System has been locked down in the payload bay, its job of inspecting Atlantis' heat shield complete for today. The boom will be used again late in the mission for another round of observations to check for orbital debris impacts before landing.

A few highlights remaining on the to-do list for this workday include installation of the centerline camera in the Orbiter Docking System to help commander Chris Ferguson during tomorrow's approach to the space station, a checkout of the rendezvous tools and the docking ring will be extended in preparation for linkup with the station's Harmony module.

The crew is scheduled for sleep at 7:29 p.m. EDT.
1625 GMT (12:25 p.m. EDT)
The port-side sweeps by the inspection boom have been completed by the crew, finishing today's heat shield surveys. It will take a day or two for ground analysts to review the data and declare the heat shield safe for re-entry.

The astronauts will return the 50-foot-long structure back into its cradle in the payload bay a short time from now.
1450 GMT (10:50 a.m. EDT)
Post-launch checks of the reinforced carbon-carbon panels on the leading edge of Atlantis' port wing are underway.
1435 GMT (10:35 a.m. EDT)
The crew has finished the nose cap survey. The left wing inspections are next up in this multi-hour job to survey the shuttle to look for any signs of launch damage. The precautionary safety inspection has become a standard activity for all post-Columbia shuttle crews.
1410 GMT (10:10 a.m. EDT)
The astronauts have swung the inspection boom into position out in front of Atlantis to get a closeup look on the shuttle's nose cap.
1332 GMT (9:32 a.m. EDT)
Inspections of space shuttle Atlantis' starboard wing have finished. The extensive imagery and laser data will be analyzed by specialists on the ground to determine if the spacecraft's heat shield is safe for re-entry.

After having some lunch, the nose cap inspections are next.
1245 GMT (8:45 a.m. EDT)
Sweeping back and forth, back and forth, the inspection device is looking for any signs of damage to to the leading edge of Atlantis' starboard wing that could have occurred during ascent yesterday.
1155 GMT (7:55 a.m. EDT)
The Orbiter Boom Sensor System, anchored on the end of shuttle Atlantis' robot arm, has been positioned to begin today's heat shield inspections. Scans on the starboard side of the shuttle will be performed first.

The crew completed the calibration and testing of the sensors. They also took imagery of the starboard plate where the launch pad umbilicals connect to the shuttle.
1135 GMT (7:35 a.m. EDT)
The Atlantis astronauts are working through a busy day of heat shield inspections, docking preparations and rendezvous rocket firings to fine tune the orbiter's approach to International Space Station for docking tomorrow.

Read our full story.
1107 GMT (7:07 a.m. EDT)
The boom has been released from its cradle and raised out of the shuttle bay. The astronauts will work to activate the camera and laser sensor package on the boom to scan the wings and nose of the orbiter over the next several hours.
1100 GMT (7:00 a.m. EDT)
Shuttle Atlantis' robotic arm has grappled the Orbiter Boom Sensor System at 6:58 a.m. EDT. The restraints holding that 50-foot-long inspection device in the payload bay are releasing it for unberthing.
1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)
After waking up, having some breakfast and going through their morning routine, the Atlantis astronauts have gotten to work. They just completed the latest engine firing as part of the two-day rendezvous sequence to catch the space station.

The NC2 burn was executed using the right-hand Orbital Maneuvering System engine for 11 seconds.

Coming up shortly will be the grappling of the inspection boom by the shuttle's robot arm.
0801 GMT (4:01 a.m. EDT)
Mission Control has awakened the astronauts with Coldplay's song "Viva la Vida" to begin the crew's first full day in orbit.

Today will be spent inspecting Atlantis' heat shield for any signs of launch damage, a routine task for shuttle crews. Other activities include checking out equipment for tomorrow's docking to the space station.

Read our earlier status center coverage.

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