Atlantis Launch

There are not going to be too many more of these:

Space shuttle Atlantis and its six-member crew began an 11-day delivery flight to the International Space Station on Monday with a 2:28 p.m. EST launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle will transport spare hardware to the outpost and return a station crew member who spent more than two months in space.

Atlantis is carrying about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts for systems that provide power to the station, keep it from overheating, and maintain a proper orientation in space. The large equipment can best be transported using the shuttle’s unique capabilities.


  1. #1 Charles Evo
    November 19, 2009

    It’s time for a manned mission to Mars.

  2. #2 mk
    November 19, 2009

    “There are not going to be too many more of these:”

    Thank god!

  3. #3 JefFlyingV
    November 19, 2009

    Damned shame that there are plans for a generation 2 shuttle that will not be used or put into service. Is this an additional American retreat from the sciences and engineering?

  4. #4 mk
    November 19, 2009

    @ JefFlyingV…

    Retreat from what sciences? In nearly 30 years little to no science has been done. What was done was insignificant.

    The shuttle program and the ISS are huge money pits. Extremely wasteful. Draining funds from true space science programs.

    Drop the ISS into the sea and scrap any remaining shuttle launches.

  5. #5 Spiv
    November 20, 2009

    I see here, like everywhere else, has a collection of rocket scientists and NASA administrators who know exactly what manned space flight is about.

    That’s my 0.02% of the budget, anyway.

    (Can you tell I’m a NASA guy who’s tired of hearing people bitch about how the shuttle and ISS supposedly haven’t done a thing for them, and how it’s such a huuuuge waste of money compared to, say, the military, who’s clearly giving everything to the community for a paltry 20% of the budget?)

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    November 20, 2009

    Spiv, how about a guest post on that topic?

  7. #7 Joshua Zelinsky
    November 22, 2009

    I really need to see one of these live before they stop.

  8. #8 Sooze
    December 3, 2009

    Thank you so much for posting this. I found it to be both informative and moving. Some years back (1996, I think), I attended a conference in Orlando with a group of grad school friends. There was a nighttime shuttle launch while we were there, and we went out onto a dark golf course at 2 am to see it. It was an incredible sight.