Status Report

NASA STS-134 Report #01 9 a.m. CDT Monday, May 16, 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
May 16, 2011
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NASA STS-134 Report #01 9 a.m. CDT Monday, May 16, 2011

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

HOUSTON — With a new scientific instrument that could increase human understanding of our universe in its cargo bay, Endeavour launched to the International Space Station on its last mission on a breezy Florida Monday morning.

The shuttle with its crew of six lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on its two-week mission at 7:56 a.m. CDT. Aboard were the 15,000-pound, $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) and a spare-parts carrier.

Several hundred thousand people came to the Kennedy area to see Endeavour lift off Monday. Officials estimate the number at a bit over half the crowd at the scheduled April 29 launch, on a Friday afternoon. That launch was scrubbed because of a technical problem.

Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Roberto Vittori, Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff are scheduled to rendezvous and dock with the station on Wednesday.

The spare parts carrier, Express Logistics Carrier 3, will be installed on the station shortly after docking using shuttle and station arms. Among items on it are a spare ammonia tank, a high-pressure oxygen tank, two S-band antennas and 10 circuit breakers.

The AMS is to be installed on the station robotically the day after Endeavour docks. It has a magnet and eight sophisticated detectors that provide information on charged particles. It could help answer questions about dark matter and antimatter.

During Endeavour’s almost 12 days at the station, Feustel, Chamitoff and Fincke will do four spacewalks for installation and maintenance. They will alternate to work on two-man teams for each of the spacewalks, scheduled to last about 6.5 hours.

Aboard the station waiting to welcome Endeavour and its crew are station Expedition 27 Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and flight engineers, Paolo Nespoli, Cady Coleman, Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan.

STS-134 is the 134th shuttle flight, the 25th flight for Endeavour and the 36th shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.

The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wakeup or earlier if warranted.

SpaceRef staff editor.