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  STS-125 / Atlantis: "The Final Visit to Hubble" [Flight Day Journal] (Page 3)

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Author Topic:   STS-125 / Atlantis: "The Final Visit to Hubble" [Flight Day Journal]
Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-24-2009 02:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Flight Day Fourteen (con't)

The crew of STS-125 woke aboard space shuttle Atlantis at 12:01 a.m. CDT for what is expected to be their last day in orbit, although they have the resources to stay in orbit through Monday, if needed.

Mission Control roused the astronauts to the orchestral score, "Flight of the Valkyries" composed by Richard Wagner. In response, the crew played their own song to the ground: "Take Me Home" by Phil Collins.

There are four landing opportunities today, two each for Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The first east coast attempt begins on orbit 196 with a deorbit burn at 7:56:56 a.m., resulting in a landing at 9:09:28 a.m.

One orbit later, a second opportunity begins with a 9:40:56 a.m. burn, led by a 10:48:16 a.m. touchdown.

If Florida's weather does not cooperate and Mission Control does not decide to hold out another day, the first Edwards landing would begin with Atlantis' orbital maneuvering engines firing at 9:24:06 a.m., to set up a 10:38:52 a.m. arrival on the dry lakebed.

The second west coast and final opportunity for the day begins with a burn at 11:07:06 a.m. and ends with a landing at 12:17:43 p.m.


Photo credit: NASA TV

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Payload bay doors closed

The STS-125 crew has closed space shuttle Atlantis' payload bay doors in preparation for returning to Earth today.

Mission Control has given the astronauts the "go" to next work on transitioning the shuttle's flight software to its reentry configuration and start donning their orange pressure suits.

"The weather at the Cape is a little better than yesterday and we would like you to suit up," radioed capcom Gregory H. Johnson.

"Copy Houston, we're suiting up per the plan" replied STS-125 commander Scott Altman.

The possibility of rain within 30 miles of the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility continues to be the concern for today.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 07:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

"Go" for fluid loading

Remaining optimistic that rain showers will stay offshore near the Kennedy Space Center, Mission Control gave the "go" for space shuttle Atlantis' astronauts to start "fluid loading" about an hour before the 7:57 a.m. CDT deorbit burn that would bring them back to Florida.
"The weather patterns are better today than they were the previous two days. We are not foregoing this opportunity at KSC. So, we would like you to start fluid loading, however you can delay it a little or take it easy at first as we continue to analyze the weather," advised capcom Gregory H. Johnson.

"Understand Houston, we will start a fluid load on a conservative basis," replied commander Scott Altman.

"That is a good plan, with the idea that additional fluid loading would be required should we take another rev," Johnson added.

"Fluid loading" will aid the astronauts' readjustment to gravity. The crew was given a choice of drinks, as indicated by the table below.

Graphic credit: NASA

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

First landing opportunity waved

Citing an "unstable" atmosphere above the Kennedy Space Center, Mission Control has waved off the first opportunity for today to bring space shuttle Atlantis back to Earth.
"We are going to wave off this rev," radioed capcom Gregory H. Johnson. "The weather is looking good at KSC but not good enough for us to get comfortable."

"The atmosphere is unstable. As the temperature rises, it is going to approach the trigger point to trigger off thunderstorms. You've got a forecast of thunderstorms within 30 [miles]."

"So, we are going to target KSC and Edwards, we are going to keep both options open for the next rev," explained Johnson.

"Okay Houston, we copy, we're waving off this rev," replied STS-125 commander Scott Altman. "We're only about one [drink] bag in on fluid loading so I think we will be good for the second rev, second attempt."

For the next rev -- orbit 197 -- a return to Florida begins with a deorbit burn at 9:41 a.m. CDT, resulting in a landing at 10:48 a.m.

If the weather does not improve, the opportunity at Edwards Air Force Base in California begins slightly earlier at 9:24 a.m. to culminate in a touchdown at 10:38 a.m.


Photo credit: NASA TV

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Atlantis headed for California

The threat of rain showers in the vicinity of Kennedy Space Center has prevented space shuttle Atlantis from returning to Florida.
"We could not get comfortable with the KSC weather," radioed Gregory H. Johnson from Mission Control. "We are going to prep the Edwards opportunity."

"Okay Houston, we copy that, we're going to Edwards," replied STS-125 commander Scott Altman.

Altman will fire Atlantis' twin orbital maneuvering system engines at 9:24:41 a.m. CDT to set up a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California at 10:39 a.m.
"Atlantis, Houston, you are go for the deorbit burn," Johnson reported. "The Edwards weather is great. It is clear, 40 miles vis, winds are right down the runway, about 10 knots down Runway 22. We are going to have great comm throughout your whole deorbit burn."

"A beautiful day in the desert," responded Altman.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Deorbit burn

Commander Scott Altman fired space shuttle Atlantis' twin orbital maneuvering system engines for two minutes, 36 seconds, slowing the orbiter's velocity by 267 feet per second (or about 307 miles per hour) beginning his and his crewmates return to Earth.
"Atlantis, good burn, no trim required" reported Mission Control.

"Houston, we concur, Atlantis is a fantastic ship," said Altman.

Atlantis is now on its way home after a 13 day mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope for one last time.

Landing on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California is set for 10:39 a.m. CDT.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Entry interface

Atlantis, flying over the Pacific Ocean with its nose tipped up and its wings level, encountered the first traces of Earth's atmosphere, known as the "entry interface", at 10:08 a.m. CDT at an altitude of 399,000 feet while still 4,890 miles from Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

S-turns

Atlantis is now flying a series of four steep banks, rolling as much as 80 degrees to one side or the other, to slow down.

This series of banks gives the shuttle's track toward the landing site the appearance of an elongated letter "S".

As predicted, Atlantis, during the first of the turns, momentarily lost contact with the ground as a result of its lower antenna being angled away.

"Atlantis, Houston, we got you back a little early on an upper antenna," radioed capcom Gregory H. Johnson.

"Welcome back Houston, just starting to get light where we are. It looks good," said commander Scott Altman.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Boom! Boom!

Twin sonic booms have been heard in California, as Atlantis dropped below the speed of sound.
"Field in site at 10,000 feet," reported Altman.
STS-125 commander Scott Altman has taken control, piloting Atlantis through a 200-degree U-turn to align the orbiter for a 10:39 a.m. CDT touchdown on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Touchdown!

Space shuttle Atlantis touched down safely at 10:39:05 a.m. CDT on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base in California!

"Wheels stop, Edwards 22," declared commander Scott Altman, as Atlantis came to a rest.

"Welcome home Atlantis," replied Gregory H. Johnson from Mission Control in Houston. "Congratulations on a very successful mission giving Hubble a new set of eyes that will continue to expand our knowledge of the universe."

"Thank you Houston, it was a thrill from start to finish, we've had a great ride," replied Altman. "It took a whole team across the country to pull it off. Our hats are off to you all. Thank you so much."

STS-125 completed 197 orbits while logging 5,276,000 miles over the course of 12 days, 21 hours, 37 minutes and nine seconds.

This was the 53rd space shuttle landing at Edwards Air Force Base.

STS-125 marked Atlantis' 30th flight, the 126th mission in the history of the space shuttle, and the fifth and final flight to the Hubble Space Telescope.

The STS-125 crew -- commander Scott "Scooter" Altman, pilot Greg C. "Ray Jay" Johnson and mission specialists John Grunsfeld, Mike "Mass" Massimino, Mike "Bueno" Good, Drew Feustel and Megan McArthur -- completed seven days servicing the telescope, including five spacewalks encompassing a record 37 hours upgrading Hubble.


Video and photo credit: NASA

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-24-2009 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight Day 14

Atlantis' Altman: "At last!"

After taking the customary walk-around of the shuttle, Atlantis' commander Scott Altman, flanked by his crew, delivered some brief remarks about the mission and landing.

When we got down to Florida, I looked at everybody and said 'At last!'. I didn't realize it was going to be so hard to get back to the Earth in the end. So again I guess I say the same thing, at last... we're back on the ground.

It's great to be here at Edwards Air Force Base and NASA Dryden. Having this facility for us to come to today is just awesome. It was beautiful weather, we saw the field from about 100 miles out. And landing here just felt great to everybody. So we're all thrilled to have the mission complete, it was a testament to the teamwork and cooperation of folks all across the country.

We want to express our thanks to everybody, especially to Edwards for all the folks who supported us, providing us a place to land and aren't too upset about us taking up their runway for a few hours today. So again, thanks to everybody!

We're going to go do some baseline [medical] data collection, jump in the van and head off to do that, so have a great day. We're thrilled to be here, it's beautiful. Thank you so much!


Photo credit: NASA TV/NASA


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