Status Report

NASA STS-135 Report #27 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, July 21, 2011

By SpaceRef Editor
July 21, 2011
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NASA STS-135 Report #27 9:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

HOUSTON – Atlantis landed at 4:57 a.m. CDT Thursday, wrapping up a successful 13-day mission, ending its own 33-flight career and closing out the 30-year, 135-flight Space Shuttle Program.

Kennedy Space Center weather was near perfect with light winds and clear skies. Atlantis glided to a smooth predawn landing under a waning half-moon.

“Mission complete, Houston,” said Commander Chris Ferguson just after wheels stop. “After serving the world for over 30 years, the shuttle has earned its place in history, and it has come to a final stop.”

Entry Capcom Barry Wilmore responded: “We congratulate you, Atlantis, as well as the thousands of passionate individuals across this great spacefaring nation who truly empowered this incredible spacecraft … which has inspired millions around the globe.”

Atlantis crew members, Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim, wound up the successful mission to the International Space Station. It left the station with about 9,400 pounds of equipment and supplies carried aloft in the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module, and almost 2,300 pounds of experiments, equipment and supplies brought up in its middeck lockers.

Atlantis returned almost 5,700 pounds of unneeded equipment and trash in Raffaello. The shuttle also brought back material, including experiments, in its middeck lockers and a 1,400-pound pump module. Part of the station cooling system, it had failed last year. It will be examined to determine what caused the failure.

During Atlantis’ eight-day, 15-hour stay at the orbiting laboratory, station Flight Engineers Mike Fossum and Ron Garan did a 6.5-hour spacewalk that included placing the pump module in the shuttle cargo bay and installing on the station a satellite refueling experiment called the Robotic Refueling Mission.

On Atlantis’ way home the small PicoSat, designed to evaluate performance of a variety of solar cells, was deployed from the cargo bay.

During STS-135, Atlantis orbited the Earth 200 times, traveling 5,284,862 statute miles. Over its 33 missions, it spent 307 days in space, completing 4,848 orbits and traveling 125,935,769 miles. STS-135 was the 37th visit of a space shuttle to the station.

Shuttles on all 135 missions traveled more than 542 million miles in space.

This was the 78th shuttle landing at Kennedy Space Center. Shuttles landed 54 times at Edwards Air Force Base in California and once, on Columbia’s STS-3 flight in March 1982, at White Sands Space Harbor in New Mexico.

A celebration of Atlantis crew members’ homecoming will be held in Houston at 4 p.m. Friday. Open to the public, the ceremony will be held at Ellington’s Hangar 990. Ellington gates will open at 3:30 p.m.

SpaceRef staff editor.