Archive for the ‘Atlanis’ Category

Atlantis delivers new space lab

February 9, 2008
By Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew delivered a sparkling new lab to the international space station on Saturday, smoothly docking after a two-day chase around the world.

In this image taken from video provided by NASA TV, the space ...
In this image taken from video provided by NASA TV, the space shuttle Atlantis is seen from the International Space Station during a maneuver, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. Atlantis maneuvered toward a rendezvous with the international space station on Saturday, bringing a new $2 billion lab that European scientists can’t wait to see installed.
(AP Photo/NASA)

The $2 billion European science lab, Columbus, will be unloaded and attached to the space station on Sunday.

The two spacecraft linked up as they passed more than 200 miles above Australia. Just over an hour later, the 10 space travelers — seven shuttle astronauts and three station residents — threw open the hatches, laughing and shouting.

Just before docking, Atlantis did a 360-degree backflip so station commander Peggy Whitson and her crew could photograph the shuttle’s thermal shielding. Nearly 300 photos were beamed back to Earth so engineers could look for any signs of launch damage.

Mission Control requested extra pictures of a torn thermal blanket on Atlantis’ right orbital maneuvering system pod, back near the tail. The small tear was along a seam, and occurred during the launch, said flight director Mike Sarafin.

Engineers were analyzing the tear and whether it posed a hazard for re-entry at flight’s end. The exact size of the peeled-up section was unknown, but it appeared to be smaller than one that required spacewalking repairs last June….

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