Home / Articles / Today / National Today /  Space shuttle Atlantis sets off on 11-day mission
. . . . . . .
Give Through iGivefirst
Monday, November 16,2009

Space shuttle Atlantis sets off on 11-day mission

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

On Monday, NASA associate administrator Bill Gerstenmaier told reporters that he does not expect to know what the White House will do until February. But he said the uncertainty has made it difficult for NASA as it flies out the remaining missions.

"How do we keep our workforce and ourselves focused on what we are doing and don't get too distracted by all the 'what if' scenarios?" he said.

The reality of just five more flights also is starting to resonate with the launch team. "It is starting to hit home, I have to admit to you. It is starting to hit home," said Mike Leinbach, launch director at the space center.

But for one day, the worries were put on the back burner.

Minutes before liftoff, Atlantis commander Charlie Hobaugh said: "We're excited to take this incredible vehicle for a ride, and meet up with another incredible vehicle, the International Space Station."

Atlantis, loaded with crucial spare parts, is expected to dock with the station Wednesday. The parts should enable the station to extend its operating life by years,

Also on the mission is pilot Barry E. Wilmore, a Navy captain; mission specialists Leland Melvin, a scientist and former NFL football player; Mike Foreman, a U.S. Navy Captain and veteran spacewalker; Marine Lt. Col. Randy Bresnick and Robert Satcher, an orthopedic surgeon. Wilmore, Bresnick and Satcher were all first-time fliers.

The 11-day flight will keep the astronauts in orbit through Thanksgiving. They will unload nearly 30,000 pounds of pumps, tanks and other spare parts, as well as science experiments.

Atlantis will return to Earth with astronaut Nicole Stott, who has been one of the station's six crew members since late August.

Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

Continue reading: Page 1 | Page 2 |
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
No Registration Required

It just seems like when I was a kid people used to get stoked about a shuttle launch a whole lot more. I remember being at school and they were letting everyone outside to see if we could catch a glimpse of it as it headed up through the skies. People used to get excited. Today I was at work and I mentioned it and no one even knew that it was launching.

Its as if our country has gotten so used to it that now even space travel can seem almost mundane. I guess that’s part of the reason that their calling it quits on the whole space shuttle program. Go back in time and think about why the space program even started in the first place. It was all just to prove that we were more bad ass than the Russians. We wanted our country to get excited about something and bask in the confidence of us kicking ass. The whole space program was purely an ego driven pissing contest. Now that aspect just doesn’t even exist anymore. People are getting bored with it so what real purpose does it serve. Its not like were bringing back the cure for cancer from space or anything like that. Its really just a gigantic waste of money when you come to think about it.

Check out my blog on the Shuttle launch, the future of the program and the lack of excitement surronding it at....