Payload: MRM 1
Launch: May 14, 2010
Time: 2:20 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: May 26 @ approx. 8:30 a.m.
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility
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Welcome to Spaceflight Now's live coverage of space shuttle Atlantis' STS-132 mission to the International Space Station. Text updates will appear automatically; there is no need to reload the page.
SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2010The station's robotic arm released its grip on the pallet and backed away for use in moving the spacewalkers around tomorrow. The EVA preps for the day are complete and the spacewalkers are camping out overnight in the airlock. Wakeup time for Flight Day 4 is 3:20 a.m. EDT.
2115 GMT (5:15 p.m. EDT)A small pallet stacked with new parts has been lifted out of shuttle Atlantis' payload bay and delivered to the International Space Station. The robotic arm maneuvered the carrier to an attachment port on the station's mobile base railcar where it was anchored.
Spacewalkers on upcoming EVAs will unload the pallet's contents, which include a Ku-band communications antenna and tool holder for Dextre robot, plus six batteries to swap out with those on the Port 6 solar power module that's almost a decade old.
Once the payloads are removed from the carrier and the old batteries are stowed aboard, the structure will be placed back into Atlantis' payload bay late in the mission for return to Earth.
2111 GMT (5:11 p.m. EDT)The Integrated Cargo Carrier - Vertical Light Deployable, or ICC-VLD, has been installed onto the space station's mobile railcar, completing one of the main tasks for today following Atlantis' docking at the outpost.
2051 GMT (4:51 p.m. EDT)The cargo carrier is being lined up with the parking spot on the space station's mobile base system. The fixure where the pallet will be left is known as the POA. It resembles an end of the station's arm, and will hold the structure during tomorrow's spacewalk and unloading operations.
2042 GMT (4:42 p.m. EDT)After taking a break for the spacewalk review, the station's robot arm is moving the pallet toward its temporary home on the mobile transporter system.
1956 GMT (3:56 p.m. EDT)The joint crews are about to gather for a procedure review of tomorrow's spacewalk activities.
1945 GMT (3:45 p.m. EDT)Moving the cargo pallet continues very slowly and methodically. The robotic arm operators are using the workstation inside the new cupola today for the first time.
1930 GMT (3:30 p.m. EDT)The shuttle Atlantis, carrying a Russian docking module and critical spare parts, glided to a smooth docking with the International Space Station Sunday, capping a two-day orbital chase that began with blastoff Friday.
Read our full story.
1915 GMT (3:15 p.m. EDT)This pallet's formal name is the Integrated Cargo Carrier - Vertical Light Deployable, or ICC-VLD. It flew on Endeavour's STS-127 mission last year for a similar role of ferrying batteries and spare parts to the station.
The structure is 8 feet long and 13 feet wide. Its mass with the payloads loaded aboard is more than four tons.
1855 GMT (2:55 p.m. EDT)The pallet is up and out of the bay now.
1847 GMT (2:47 p.m. EDT)The robot arm is in motion to hoist the carrier from the shuttle.
1837 GMT (2:37 p.m. EDT)The latches holding the pallet in the shuttle's payload bay have been released, freeing the structure for traveling on the end of the space station's arm.
1830 GMT (2:30 p.m. EDT)The International Space Station's robot arm has grappled the spare parts cargo carrier for unberthing from Atlantis' payload bay today.
1803 GMT (2:03 p.m. EDT)Atlantis mission specialist Piers Sellers and space station astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson are getting to work on their joint task to relocate the cargo pallet.
1630 GMT (12:30 p.m. EDT)Still to come today, the astronauts will transfer the large equipment pallet from Atlantis' payload bay to the space station and get everything in order for tomorrow's spacewalk.
Commander Ken Ham previewed in a pre-flight interview:
"That whole day is probably our single most busy day. Aside from getting all the rendezvous tasks done, when we get on board we need to pull that ICC, that rack out of the payload bay which Piers and Tracy are going to do, pulling that out of the bay and sticking it up on top of space station in preparation for some further arm motions that the ground, Mission Control, is going to take care of overnight, all the while we're getting our two first spacewalkers, which is Steve Bowen and Garrett Reisman, in the airlock ready for campout, getting their blood chemistry right, if you will, overnight to get ready to go out the door the next day. So there are an awful lot of things that have to happen that day and happen on time so that we can get to bed and get up the next day and go to work."
1620 GMT (12:20 p.m. EDT)The six shuttle astronauts have been welcomed aboard the outpost by the six-person International Space Station resident crew.
Expedition 23 includes commander Oleg Kotov, NASA astronauts T.J. Creamer and Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
1618 GMT (12:18 p.m. EDT)HATCHES OPEN. The hatchway between Atlantis and the space station was opened at 12:18 p.m. EDT.
1535 GMT (11:35 a.m. EDT)Atlantis has maneuvered the station into the desired orientation with the shuttle flying on the aft end of the complex. This keeps the shuttle's heat shield out of the direction of travel to guard against space debris hits.
1441 GMT (10:41 a.m. EDT)The docking ring has been retracted and the hooks and latches have driven shut to firmly connect the shuttle to the space station. A series of leak checks between the docking ports will take the better part of the next two hours.
1436 GMT (10:36 a.m. EDT)Atlantis' docking mechanism is pulling the two craft together.
1430 GMT (10:30 a.m. EDT)The relative motions of the shuttle and station will be allowed to damp out over the next few minutes by the spring-loaded docking system. Later, the hooks and latches will be closed to firmly join the two craft and Atlantis' Orbiter Docking System docking ring will be retracted to form a tight seal.
The opening of hatches between the station and shuttle is expected in about two hours. That will be followed by a welcoming ceremony and safety briefing.
1428 GMT (10:28 a.m. EDT)CONTACT AND CAPTURE! Sailing in orbit on its retirement voyage, shuttle Atlantis has arrived at the International Space Station for one final visit to help build a bigger, better outpost.
Atlantis is hauling Mini Research Module 1 -- called Rassvet -- that will be attached to the Russian segment of the station on Tuesday. It's a multi-tasking module where Soyuz crew transports will be parked, Progress cargo freighters can be unloaded and an added area to house science investigations run by the cosmonauts.
Also riding in the shuttle's payload bay is an arrowhead-shaped pallet holding six fresh rechargeable power packs for the space station's oldest solar wing truss, a new high-speed communications antenna and an enhanced tool for Canada's Dextre robot, all of which will be installed during three spacewalks that begin tomorrow.
1427 GMT (10:27 a.m. EDT)The shuttle's thrusters are programmed to fire in a post-contact maneuver to force the two docking ports together. That procedure is being armed.
1427 GMT (10:27 a.m. EDT)Just 10 feet separate the shuttle from the station.
1426 GMT (10:26 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is closing at 0.08 feet per second. Current distance now 15 feet.
1425 GMT (10:25 a.m. EDT)In a pre-flight interview, pilot Tony Antonelli described this last portion of the shuttle's approach to the station under the control of commander Ken Ham:
"He's got his tolerances. There is a cylinder that's three inches and a closure rate. He's going to try to shoot for a tenth of a foot per second and he's only got plus or minus .03."
1424 GMT (10:24 a.m. EDT)Range now 22 feet, closing at 0.08 feet per second.
1423 GMT (10:23 a.m. EDT)The final approach covering the last 30 feet is beginning.
1421 GMT (10:21 a.m. EDT)The crew is fixing the alignment with a 1-degree roll.
1420 GMT (10:20 a.m. EDT)Now 37 feet from docking, closing at about 0.10 feet per second.
1418 GMT (10:18 a.m. EDT)Range now 52 feet, closing at 0.14 feet per second.
1416 GMT (10:16 a.m. EDT)About 72 feet separate the shuttle and station, closing at 0.13 feet per second.
1414 GMT (10:14 a.m. EDT)Now 88 feet from docking, with the shuttle closing at about 0.14 feet per second.
1412 GMT (10:12 a.m. EDT)Nearing the 100-foot mark as the two spacecraft complete a pass over nighttime Australia.
1409 GMT (10:09 a.m. EDT)The shuttle is 130 feet in front of the station complex now.
1407 GMT (10:07 a.m. EDT)The shuttle is being flown manually by commander Ken Ham. This is his second visit to the International Space Station, having served as the pilot on the STS-124 assembly mission that delivered the Japanese Kibo science laboratory module.
1405 GMT (10:05 a.m. EDT)Range now 170 feet, closing at about 0.15 feet per second.
1402 GMT (10:02 a.m. EDT)The two spacecraft are flying in orbital darkness. Docking is scheduled to occur right at the next sunrise about 25 minutes from now.
1400 GMT (10:00 a.m. EDT)Pilot Tony Antonelli described the roles for himself commander Ken Ham during the rendezvous in a pre-flight interview:
"Our commander's going to do the actual flying. It's a manually flown rendezvous with the shuttle to the space station. ... So he's busy flying. He's got some pretty challenging flying tasks. I mean, he's well trained for it and it's going to be great, but that will be his focus. My job will be to just keep track of the checklist, make sure that everything that's on the checklist gets done, checked off. I just report back to him that it's complete. That frees him up to just do the flying."
1355 GMT (9:55 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is 288 feet away from the docking port and closing at about 0.2 feet per second.
1354 GMT (9:54 a.m. EDT)The astronauts have been given a "go" for docking from Mission Control's shuttle and station flight control teams.
1353 GMT (9:53 a.m. EDT)The shuttle has reached a point directly in front of the station along the imaginary line called the velocity vector, or +V bar.
1342 GMT (9:42 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is marking the arc from the point beneath the station to a point in front of the complex to align with the docking port on the Harmony module. Docking is about 45 minutes away.
1335 GMT (9:35 a.m. EDT)The pitch maneuver has been completed. Atlantis is back in the orientation where it started, with the payload bay looking up at the station.
1334 GMT (9:34 a.m. EDT)The distance between the two spacecraft now measured at 649 feet.
1333 GMT (9:33 a.m. EDT)The main engine nozzles of Atlantis are facing the station now as the shuttle points its tail upward.
1332 GMT (9:32 a.m. EDT)Now passing 219 miles over northern Italy.
1331 GMT (9:31 a.m. EDT)This 360-degree, nose-first pirouette by Atlantis gives the station crew about 100 seconds of quality photography time to snap detailed pictures of the orbiter's black tiles in the search for any launch impact damage.
1330 GMT (9:30 a.m. EDT)The formal photo-taking period has started for the Expedition crew positioned at windows in the Zvezda service module, now that the shuttle has rotated its underside in view of the station complex.
1329 GMT (9:29 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is nose-up facing the station.
1328 GMT (9:28 a.m. EDT)The duo is formation-flying about 600 feet apart as they cross the coast of Portugal, soon to fly over Spain and France.
1327 GMT (9:27 a.m. EDT)The rendezvous pitch maneuver -- the 360-degree flip -- is beginning. The shuttle is the under the control of commander Ken Ham, who is flying the ship from the aft flight deck.
As the shuttle's underside rotates into view, the station's crew will photograph Atlantis' belly with handheld digital cameras equipped with 400- and 800-millimeter lenses as part of post-launch inspections of the heat shield.
The 800mm images should provide one-inch resolution for examination of landing gear door and external tank umbilical door seals. The 400mm will yield three-inch resolution.
An additional 800mm camera is being used today to get high-resolution pictures of Atlantis' upper surfaces since those areas couldn't be surveyed yesterday due to the inspection boom problem.
After completing the RPM maneuver, Atlantis will fly directly ahead of the space station with the shuttle's nose facing deep space and its cargo bay pointed at the lab complex. Then Ham will guide the spacecraft to a docking with a pressurized mating adapter attached to the Harmony connecting module.
1323 GMT (9:23 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is 640 feet directly beneath the space station.
1321 GMT (9:21 a.m. EDT)Station astronauts are getting ready for their job to photograph Atlantis' heat shield during the backflip after five minutes from now.
1318 GMT (9:18 a.m. EDT)The shuttle's closure rate slowed in preparation for commander Ken Ham to park Atlantis directly below the space station for the upcoming backflip.
1312 GMT (9:12 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is less than 1,000 feet beneath the station now.
1306 GMT (9:06 a.m. EDT)Mission Control has given the shuttle crew a "go" for the backflip maneuver. The 360-degree flip should start in about 20 minutes.
1304 GMT (9:04 a.m. EDT)One final mid-course correction burn just occurred as Atlantis flies toward the station.
1300 GMT (9:00 a.m. EDT)Distance separating the two spacecraft has closed to 2,600 feet.
1254 GMT (8:54 a.m. EDT)The third course correction has been completed to tweak the flight path toward the International Space Station. All continues to go well in today's rendezvous.
1250 GMT (8:50 a.m. EDT)Commander Ken Ham previewed today's activities in a pre-flight interview:
"Rendezvous day is a great day. I am really looking forward to that one, not just because I get to fly the orbiter this time but that first time, you get really busy in the cockpit during the rendezvous. There's a whole bunch of stuff you need to get done and at some point in there you actually look out the window when you're close and you see this monstrosity that is out there orbiting the planet. There's that moment of 'Holy cow! What has humanity built up here?' It is amazing and I'm looking forward to that because the station's even bigger than it was last time I was there and it's just a neat thing to look at. It's a reality check."
1246 GMT (8:46 a.m. EDT)Atlantis is inside 8,000 feet now.
1237 GMT (8:37 a.m. EDT)Atlantis has performed a tiny orbital plane correction and another of the available mid-course burns.
1235 GMT (8:35 a.m. EDT)The space station is in the proper orientation for docking.
1232 GMT (8:32 a.m. EDT)Just under two hours from docking. The distance between the shuttle and the space station is 18,000 feet.
1215 GMT (8:15 a.m. EDT)The shuttle is 33,900 feet from the station, closing at 15 feet per second.
1200 GMT (8:00 a.m. EDT)The shuttle just completed one of the available mid-course correction burns during this approach to the station. Now 45,000 feet left to go.
1141 GMT (7:41 a.m. EDT)With about 9 miles separating Atlantis from the International Space Station, the shuttle has performed the Terminal Initiation burn. The 12-second firing changed the shuttle's velocity by 9.6 feet per second, resulting in a new orbit of 217 by 213 miles.
The TI burn puts the shuttle on a trajectory to directly intercept the orbiting station over the next orbit and a half. The burn is the latest in a series of maneuvers performed by Atlantis during its two days of chasing the station since launch Friday afternoon.
Docking is anticipated at 10:27 a.m. EDT.
1120 GMT (7:20 a.m. EDT)The shuttle Atlantis closed in on the International Space Station early Sunday as the astronauts worked through the final stages of a complex two-day rendezvous.
Read our full story.
1117 GMT (7:17 a.m. EDT)CAPCOM Chris Cassidy in Mission Control has radioed approval to the shuttle's crew for the Terminal Initiation burn that's scheduled to occur at 7:40 a.m. EDT.
1043 GMT (6:43 a.m. EDT)The crew just performed a 1-second pulsing of the reaction control jets for a 0.2-foot per second velocity change to refine the shuttle's trajectory. Atlantis remains on track for docking around 10:27 a.m. EDT today.
1009 GMT (6:09 a.m. EDT)A circularization burn, known as NC4, has boosted Atlantis into a 214 by 210 mile orbit. Both maneuvering engines fired for 63 seconds and changed the shuttle's velocity by 100 feet per second.
0923 GMT (5:23 a.m. EDT)The NH burn, a major orbit raising maneuver by Atlantis' twin maneuvering engines, has been completed successfully. This 1-minute, 24-second firing changed the shuttle's velocity by 132 feet per second. Atlantis' new orbit is 212 by 145 miles.
0837 GMT (4:37 a.m. EDT)The shuttle's current orbit is measured at 145 by 126 miles. By comparison, the International Space Station is flying at this moment some 214 miles above the planet. Several orbital maneuvers upcoming this morning will boost Atlantis up to the space station.
0830 GMT (4:30 a.m. EDT)The Planning Shift of flight controllers in Houston have handed off to the Orbit 1 Team headed by lead STS-131 shuttle flight director Mike Sarafin and CAPCOM Chris Cassidy. This team will be on duty for the first half of the crew's workday and the docking.
0812 GMT (4:12 a.m. EDT)The crew is marching through its early checklist of activities for today. Commander Ken Ham is preparing to align the orbiter's Inertial Measurement Units in the guidance system and power up a subset of equipment known as Group B. And a water dump is underway.
0721 GMT (3:21 a.m. EDT)The wakeup call has been sounded to Atlantis' crew for Flight Day 3.
This is docking day for the space shuttle, which will arrive at the International Space Station after a two-day chase since launch. Rendezvous operations will begin in about two hours. The Terminal Initiation burn is scheduled for 7:40 a.m. and the 360-degree backflip maneuver in expected to start at 9:26 a.m. EDT. Atlantis should link up with the space station around 10:27 a.m. EDT.
Read our earlier status center coverage.
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