Make text bigger  Make text smaller  Toggle background color  Bookmark/Share

Shuttle Endeavour Lands Safely in Florida

STS-130 Shuttle Night landing

HOUSTON – Space shuttle Endeavour is home after two weeks in space, having delivered the final U.S. module and a “room with a view” to the International Space Station. STS-130 Commander George Zamka guided Endeavour to a landing at the Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility at 9:20 p.m. CST, to wrap up a 5.7 million mile mission.

“Houston it’s great to be home. It was a great adventure,” Zamka radioed to Mission Control after wheels stop.

It was the 24th flight for Endeavour, the 32nd shuttle mission devoted to ISS assembly and maintenance, and the 130th shuttle mission to date. It was also the 23rd night landing in shuttle history and the 17th at the Florida spaceport. Endeavour now will be towed into its processing hangar to be prepared for its next mission, currently scheduled for July.

STS-130 Mission Specialists Robert Behnken, left, and Nicholas Patrick check the temperature of space shuttle Endeavour's nosecone following its successful landing

(Above) STS-130 Mission Specialists Robert Behnken, left, and Nicholas Patrick check the temperature of space shuttle Endeavour’s nosecone following its successful landing.

Zamka, Pilot Terry Virts and Mission Specialists Kathryn Hire, Stephen Robinson, Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken left behind more than 36,000 pounds of hardware that included the Tranquility Node 3 and the unique cupola providing a 360-degree view through seven windows.

Behnken and Patrick conducted three spacewalks during the mission totaling 18 hours, 14 minutes. That brings the totals for station assembly to 140 spacewalks and more than 873 hours.

The crew now plans to spend the night in crew quarters at Kennedy before returning to Houston for a welcome ceremony at about 4 p.m. Monday at Ellington Field’s Hangar 990, near the Johnson Space Center.

Next up is the flight of Discovery on the STS-131 mission, targeted for launch April 5 with a crew of seven to deliver several tons of supplies to the space station and conduct other assembly and maintenance work.

VIDEO: President Obama Talks to the Crew of the International Space Station

The President congratulated NASA and the Crew of the ISS/Endeavour on the success of their ongoing mission.

He was joined by Congressional leaders and middle school students from Michigan, Florida, and Nebraska.

Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 Relocated to Tranquility


Above: Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 is relocated from the Harmony module to the open port on the end of the Tranquility node.

The pressurized mating adapter was moved early in the crew’s day from its temporary position atop the Harmony node to the outboard end of Tranquility, where the cupola had been launched. Mission Specialists Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick operated the station’s Canadarm2 for the move, while station Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineer Soichi Noguchi dealt with latches and bolts, connecting the port to its new home at 9:28 p.m. EST.

Patrick and Behnken will hook up heater and data cables between the relocated adapter and Tranquility during the spacewalk that begins Tuesday evening. Today, the spacewalkers reviewed plans for the final planned spacewalk with Mission Specialist Stephen Robinson, the intravehicular officer, along with Endeavour Commander George Zamka, Pilot Terry Virts and station Flight Engineer T.J. Creamer.

The 6.5-hour spacewalk is scheduled to begin at 9:09 p.m. The spacewalkers will open the second of two ammonia loops to allow its coolant to flow through Tranquility and disconnect temporary power cables. They’ll remove insulation from the cupola’s seven windows and then release bolts that held the covers in place during launch, enabling astronauts to open the shutters from inside.

Cupola Relocation Provides Panoramic View of Earth

Cupola Relocation

The International Space Station’s new viewport is facing the Earth now, ready to provide a panoramic view of the planet below and approaching cargo ships. Relocation of the cupola from Tranquility’s forward port to its new location was completed at 12:31 a.m. CST.

Space shuttle Endeavour Mission Specialist Kathryn Hire and Pilot Terry Virts moved the cupola, operating the station’s Canadarm2 from controls in the U.S. laboratory, Destiny. Expedition 22 Commander Jeff Williams operated the latches and bolts that released the cupola from its launch location and then secured it to its new home.

There was a minor delay in releasing the cupola. The bolts attaching it to its launch position on Tranquility had been torqued in Earth’s gravity and were a little tighter than expected. Flight controllers slightly increased the torque to release the bolts, resolving the problem. The cupola’s attachment to the Earth-facing port went smoothly.

Outfitting of the cupola, including preparations for filling water lines and for installation of a robotics workstation there, continued. Crew members are expected to get their first look out the cupola windows after Tuesday’s third and final scheduled spacewalk of Endeavour’s stay at the station.

Endeavour’s spacewalkers, Mission Specialists Robert Behnken and Nicholas Patrick, spent about an hour and a half early in their day preparing for that excursion. Part of those preparations involved resizing another spacesuit for Behnken. The suit he wore on the first two spacewalks had some communications dropouts.

The station’s refurbished Urine Processing Assembly continued to work as expected. Flight controllers said it processed more than 2.5 gallons of urine during the day.

During the morning of their work day, Virts and Hire answered questions from students at NASA Explorer Schools. Just before the end of their day, Virts and Behnken will talk with reporters from WOR Radio New York and television stations KTVI-TV in St. Louis and WREG-TV in Memphis.

The shuttle crew’s bedtime is set for 7:14 a.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued after the crew wakeup call, scheduled for 3:14 p.m. The Johnson Space Center newsroom will close at 6 a.m. and reopen at 4 p.m.

Tranquility Installed, ISS Size Increaes by 2,600 Cubic ft

Tranquility Installed

Astronauts installed a 2,600-cubic-foot addition to the International Space Station early Friday, combining the talents of robotic arm operators and spacewalkers to connect the Italian-built Tranquility module.

Tranquility was installed at 12:20 a.m. CST Friday over the Indian Ocean west of Singapore. Mission Specialist Kay Hire and Pilot Terry Virts used the station’s Canadarm2 to pull Tranquility out of space shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay and position it on the port side of the station’s 10-year-old Unity module. Tranquility was locked in place with 16 remotely controlled bolts.

Spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nick Patrick stepped outside the Quest airlock module at 8:17 p.m. Thursday and immediately began preparing the new module for its trip from the cargo bay to the station. Mission Specialist Steve Robinson helped coordinate the 6-hour, 32-minute spacewalk, which ended at 2:49 a.m. Friday. As Behnken and Patrick waited for the robotic arm operators to carefully maneuver Tranquility into position, they relocated a temporary platform from the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, to the station’s truss structure and installed two handles on the robot.

Once Tranquility was structurally mated to Unity, the spacewalkers connected heater and data cables that will integrate the new module with the rest of the station’s systems. They also pre-positioned insulation blankets and ammonia hoses that will be used to connect Tranquility to the station’s cooling radiators during the mission’s second spacewalk that begins Saturday night. The station’s new room with a view, the cupola, will be moved from Tranquility’s end to its Earth-facing port on Sunday.

As the spacewalk ended, Mission Control reported that all data and heater connections were working well, and that the vestibule separating Tranquility and Unity had passed its initial leak check.

Inside the station, a new Distillation Assembly and Fluids Control Pump Assembly began recycling their first batch of urine after Commander Jeff Williams’ installation of the new parts on Wednesday. Flight controllers are monitoring the operation of the station’s Water Recovery System and preparing to return samples of both urine and drinking water for return to Earth as troubleshooting on the first-of-its-kind system continues. The recycling system will be moved from the Destiny Laboratory to Tranquility once experts are satisfied with its performance.

The astronauts are scheduled to begin their sleep period at 7:14 a.m., and awaken at 3:14 p.m. The next shuttle status report will be issued after the crew awakens, or earlier if warranted.

First STS-130 Spacewalk Complete

STS-130 Endeavour

Spacewalkers Bob Behnken and Nicholas Patrick completed a 6-hour, 32-minute spacewalk at 3:49 a.m. EST.

The spacewalking pair finished all their assigned work and some get-ahead tasks. The Tranquility node and cupola were robotically maneuvered from Endeavour’s payload bay then installed onto the port side of the Unity node. Tranquility’s hatch is scheduled to be opened at about 9:14 p.m. tonight.

This was the first of three STS-130 spacewalks, the 231st conducted by U.S. astronauts, the fourth for Behnken and the first for Patrick. It was the 138th in support of International Space Station assembly and maintenance, totaling 861 hours, 34 minutes. It was the 110th spacewalk out of the space station, totaling 674 hours, 19 minutes.

NASA Television will air a Mission Status Briefing at 5:30 a.m. with STS-130 Lead Space Station Flight Director Bob Dempsey and STS-130 Lead Spacewalk Officer Art Thomason.

Crew Inspecting Endeavour’s Heat Shield

STS-130 Launch Mission Banner

The STS-130 crew is using Endeavour’s robotic arm, orbiter boom extension and specialized cameras to capture detailed video of the spacecraft’s heat shield. The inspection gives experts on the ground 3-D views of the shuttle’s heat shield to ensure no damage occurred during liftoff.

The crew will also prepare for rendezvous and docking and check out the spacesuits Mission Specialists Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken will wear for three spacewalks, devoted largely to installation of Tranquility and the outfitting of the new module, the cupola and a docking port that will be relocated during docked operations.

Endeavour’s Launch Sparks Early Morning Sunrise

STS-130 Launch - Banner

Space shuttle Endeavour lit up the predawn sky above Florida’s Space Coast on Monday with a 4:14 a.m. EST launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The shuttle’s last scheduled night launch began a 13-day flight to the International Space Station and the final year of shuttle operations.

Endeavour’s STS-130 mission will include three spacewalks and the delivery of the Tranquility node, the final major U.S. portion of the station. Tranquility will provide additional room for crew members and many of the space station’s life support and environmental control systems.

Attached to Tranquility is a cupola with seven windows, which houses a robotic control station. The windows will provide a panoramic view of Earth, celestial objects and visiting spacecraft. After the node and cupola are added, the orbiting laboratory will be approximately 90 percent complete.

Shortly before liftoff, Commander George Zamka said, “Thanks to the great team that got Tranquility, cupola and Endeavour to this point. And thanks also to the team that got us ready to bring Node 3 and cupola to life. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks. It’s time to go fly.”

Zamka is joined on the flight by Pilot Terry Virts and Mission Specialists Kathryn Hire, Stephen Robinson, Nicholas Patrick and Robert Behnken. Virts is making his first trip to space.

Endeavour’s first landing opportunity at Kennedy is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 20, at 10:01 p.m. The STS-130 mission will be Endeavour’s 24th flight and the 32nd shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.

Endeavour Launch Rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 8

STS-130 Banner

NASA managers officially re-scheduled space shuttle Endeavour’s next launch attempt for Monday, Feb. 8 at 4:14 a.m. EST.

The Mission Management Team will meet at 6:15 p.m. Sunday to give the “go” to fill Endeavour’s external fuel tank with propellants. Tank loading would begin at 6:45 p.m.

Endeavour Ready for Holidays

Crane lowers space shuttle Endeavour

Space shuttle Endeavour’s hatch has been closed and purging systems are set up to blow warm air into the shuttle and critical systems during the holiday break.

Standing inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Endeavour has been bolted onto its external tank and twin solid rocket boosters. The temperature inside the shuttle will be kept at about 70 degrees with about 50 percent humidity.

Warm air is circulated around the main engines and orbital maneuvering system thrusters to protect them from the colder temperatures. They will come on when the forecast calls for temperatures of 45 degrees or lower for four hours.

Endeavour’s next major milestone is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2010, when it is rolled out to Launch Pad 39A. Liftoff of the spacecraft on the STS-130 mission is targeted for Feb. 7 at 4:39 a.m. EST


The Space News Aggregator

Top Space News

Astro Log

Blogging the Final Frontier

Launch Alerts

Never Miss a Launch

Knowledge Base

Space History at the Speed of Light

Galaxy Wire TV

Watch the Universe