Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches Beginning an 11 Day Mission

By Marc Boucher
September 9, 2006
Filed under
Space Shuttle Atlantis Launches Beginning an 11 Day Mission

The Space Shuttle Atlantis finally launched today on it’s 11 day mission to the International Space Station. During the mission the crew will continue building the space station adding the P3/P4 integrated truss and a second set of solar arrays on the space station, doubling the station’s current ability to generate power from sunlight and adding 17.5 tons to its mass. This is the first new component to be added to the space station in almost four years.

The Atlantis crew consists of Commander Brent W. Jett Jr., Pilot Christopher J. Ferguson and Mission Specialists Heidemarie M. Stefanyshyn-Piper, Joseph R. Tanner, Daniel C. Burbank and Steven G. MacLean, who represents the Canadian Space Agency.

The astronauts will perform three spacewalks each lasting about 6.5 hours. The first spacewalk will be on flight day 4 where astronauts Tanner and Piper will complete power hook ups on the truss segment. The second spacewalk will be on flight day 5 where astronauts Burbank and MacLean will prepare the rotary joint for the solar array deployment scheduled for the following day. The third spacewalk will be on flight day 7 where on their second spacewalk of the mission Tanner and Piper are expected to retrieve the MISSE 5 (Materials on International Space Station Experiment).

The shuttle is expected to land back at the Kennedy Space Center on September 20th.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.