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  STS-133/134: The last space shuttle mission

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Author Topic:   STS-133/134: The last space shuttle mission
Philip
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posted 03-09-2010 10:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rumour has it STS-133 and STS-134 might swap places.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-09-2010 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just about an hour ago, space shuttle program manager John Shannon said that if the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) needs additional time to be ready to fly on STS-134 -- the reason why the rumored swap was proposed -- than it was more likely they would keep the missions in the same order and delay both.

According to Shannon, NASA is expected to have a better understanding of AMS's preparation requirements in May.

dom
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posted 04-11-2010 02:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Flight International is reporting that the final shuttle flight might get pushed into next year.
"Uncontrolled events" are likely to push the final Space Shuttle flight back by about four months and into 2011, according to internal NASA studies.

As things stand the Shuttle fleet is scheduled to retire with Discovery's completion of mission STS-133 in September 2010, but an analysis by the space agency's office of inspector general has concluded that a delay is likely.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-11-2010 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Inspector General report, on which Flight International (and others) based their reporting, is based on historical tendencies, not anything specific about the current shuttle processing flow.

In other words, it's like the Old Farmer's Almanac and its long range weather forecasts, which are based on historical trends. They are not without merit, but they aren't what you want your news desk meteorologist using to tell you the weather.

Philip
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posted 04-22-2010 03:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA may wind up moving Endeavour's flight behind the next one by Discovery, which targeted Sept. 16 launch was expected to be the shuttle program's last.

So STS-134 Endeavour won't fly in July and STS-133 Discovery won't fly in September.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-22-2010 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No decisions have been made yet, but if STS-133 and STS-134 do switch flight order, they may also switch orbiters (i.e. STS-133 will fly on Endeavour and STS-134 on Discovery).

There are several factors at play here, but primary concern is payload processing.

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), the primary cargo for STS-134, is still in Europe, where it is being reconfigured to use a permanent magnet rather than a cryo magnet.

Meanwhile, the Leonardo multi-purpose logistics module, which just returned from space with STS-131, now needs to be modified to become a permanent logistics module to be left at the space station by the STS-133 crew. That work is expected to take longer than the time between now and mid-September, when the mission is currently targeted for launch.

Some clarity on these issues (and others) is expected to be shared by NASA as soon as tomorrow...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-26-2010 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-134 is now the final planned mission of the space shuttle program; Endeavour, the last orbiter to fly.

NASA shuffles shuttle schedule: Endeavour to fly after Discovery for final planned flight

NASA has rearranged the flight order for its final planned space shuttle missions, such that orbiter Endeavour will now have the distinction of making the last flight rather than Discovery, as earlier manifested.

The shuttles' shuffle, which now has Discovery's STS-133 mission launching to the International Space Station (ISS) before Endeavour's STS-134 flight, was driven by a delay readying the latter mission's scientific payload for launch...

Delta7
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posted 04-26-2010 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Delta7   Click Here to Email Delta7     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On a side note, this also means that the Kelly brothers will now likely join up in orbit aboard the ISS.

Jay Chladek
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posted 04-26-2010 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As much a storied history as Discovery has written, I am glad Endeavour will get the final flight if this schedule holds. Reason being is Endeavour is the last new build space shuttle. As such, it should get the chance to fly the final mission of the program in my opinion.

OV-105
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posted 04-26-2010 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for OV-105   Click Here to Email OV-105     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you Jay, last built, last to fly, unless STS-135 gets the go still.

PowerCat
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posted 04-28-2010 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a hunch (or a trick knee) that STS-135 will get added to the manifest for one final resupply opportunity.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-28-2010 10:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I understand it, adding STS-135 made most sense when the $600 million in the FY2011 budget was available. But now that STS-134 has slipped into the first quarter of FY2011 and will be using those funds to fly, STS-135 would now require Congress and the President allocating additional funding to be flown. As such, the chances of such a flight have decreased since before the schedule slip.

SpaceAngel
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posted 05-01-2010 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAngel   Click Here to Email SpaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why doesn't NASA management just swap orbiters? I mean, Endeavour would fly for STS-133 and Discovery would close out the program as it flies on STS-134.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 05-01-2010 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shuttle launch integration manager Mike Moses said that consideration was given to swapping orbiters, but ultimately the decision was made to keep them assigned as originally manifested.

Tykeanaut
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posted 05-11-2010 08:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I heard the 1980's song "The final countdown" by a band called Europe again last night. Perhaps an apt send-off anthem?

irish guy
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posted 05-11-2010 09:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for irish guy   Click Here to Email irish guy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think it would be wonderful if Hugh Harris was to do the final countdown, looking forward to meeting with Hugh at the Press site on Friday.

Philip
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posted 05-26-2010 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-133 with Discovery is still planned for 16th September 2010.

It will be the 35th U.S. mission to the International Space Station and the orbiter will deliver the Permanent Logistics Module (PLM).

The date has been set for a long time, any ideas when NASA might update its launch schedule?

Playalinda
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posted 06-08-2010 03:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Playalinda   Click Here to Email Playalinda     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would like to know if this newest schedule from NASA is the real final last flight? I know that STS-135 might be the very, very last flight!

Earlier in the year it was Mid-Sept. and now it's Mid-Nov with another change possible for STS-135 not yet announced.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-08-2010 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For now, STS-135 does not exist. It is only a proposal at this point, nothing more.

STS-134 is at present the final scheduled space shuttle mission, and it is, as shown on NASA's website, currently targeted for no earlier than mid-November. That date is a target only and is likely to change.

Philip
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posted 06-09-2010 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Indeed Robert... however there are new delays for the final two shuttle missions.

Discovery could be delayed until October.

Endeavour now likely to move to January or even February of 2011.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-09-2010 01:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The delays referenced in the Florida Today article (cited by the linked Universe Today article) are not new. They have been known since before NASA announced the mid-November target for STS-134.

STS-133 and STS-134 have not however, been officially rescheduled yet, which is what Julian (Playalinda) was asking.

There is also the possibility that STS-133 and STS-134 may switch flight order again.

Fezman92
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posted 06-09-2010 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And naturally we won't know anything new until late August/early September for STS-133 and late October/early November for STS-134 right?

Jay Chladek
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posted 06-10-2010 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of course if the schedule slipped the last launch to April of 2011, that would make the 30th anniversary of STS-1 all that more a nice event to celebrate.

Hey Robert, how about next year having a Yuri, John and Bob's Night!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-22-2010 04:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space.com: NASA Seeks to Delay Final Two Shuttle Flights
Under the proposed change, the final scheduled flight of the shuttle Discovery, the STS-133 mission currently slated for a Sept. 16 launch, would slip to Oct. 29. That delay would in turn push the last planned shuttle mission, the November flight of Endeavour on the STS-134 mission, to Feb. 28, 2011.

"The change request will be reviewed by all affected parties -- the space station program, the astronaut office, mission controllers," NASA spokesperson Mike Curie told SPACE.com from the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. "It's being discussed but there has been no decision made yet."

A final decision on whether to push back the flights will be made July 1, he said.

mjanovec
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posted 06-22-2010 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If October 29 and February 28 end up being the dates of the final two launches, are we looking at them being day launches, night launches, or a mix of both?

Ben
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posted 06-22-2010 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oct 29 and Feb 28 would both be about 50 minutes prior to sunset.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-22-2010 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Per Bill Harwood (CBS/Spaceflight Now):
Assuming an Oct. 29 target date, Discovery would blast off at 5:44 p.m. and dock with the station the afternoon of Oct. 31. Two spacewalks would be carried out Nov. 2 and 4. Discovery would undock the morning of Nov. 7 and land back at the Kennedy Space Center the afternoon of Nov. 9.

Endeavour, commanded by Mark Kelly, would blast off around 5:31 p.m. on Feb. 28 to deliver critical supplies and a $1.5 billion physics experiment to the space station.

Fezman92
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posted 06-22-2010 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How do changes in launch dates affect the crew's mission training?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-01-2010 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Updates Shuttle Target Launch Dates For Final Two Flights

NASA is targeting approximately 4:33 p.m. EDT on Nov. 1 for the launch of space shuttle Discovery's STS-133 mission and 4:19 p.m. EST on Feb. 26, 2011, for the liftoff of shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 flight from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The target dates were adjusted because critical payload hardware for STS-133 will not be ready in time to support the previously planned Sept. 16 launch. With STS-133 moving to November, STS-134 cannot fly as planned, so the next available launch window is in February 2011.

NASA will schedule the official launch date for each mission following the agency's Flight Readiness Reviews, which typically occur about two weeks prior to launches. All target launch dates are subject to change.

apolloprojeckt
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posted 07-02-2010 12:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for apolloprojeckt   Click Here to Email apolloprojeckt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oh that is great news. Why don't they launch the last mission on April 4 or 5 2011 and land on April 12 and close the shuttle period of exactly 30 years... that would be a nice idea.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-21-2010 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Flight Dynamics Office at the Johnson Space Center today refined the launch time for the space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission on Feb. 26, 2011. Lift off is now targeted for 4:04 p.m. EST.

moorouge
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posted 08-03-2010 09:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Heaven forbid that this should happen - but what if the last shuttle fails? Does anyone know if NASA has plans to schedule a replacement mission or will those tasks due to be undertaken be shifted to Soyuz flights?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-03-2010 09:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As of now, the final shuttle flight is STS-134, which payload is the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and the third ExPRESS Logistics Carrier (ELC) to the International Space Station.

Were the shuttle to be lost before reaching the space station...

The AMS is one-of-a-kind, there is no flight ready back-up, and so were it lost, there would be no follow-up actions to be taken.

The ELC carries spare equipment to the station, which could be launched if needed on HTV and SpaceX's Dragon (the spares, not the carrier).

Were the shuttle to be damaged but able to reach the station...

Atlantis will be standing ready to fly as a launch-on-need (LON) vehicle to rescue the crew but unlike prior LON flights, will also have in its payload bay a multi-purpose logistics module to restock the station after its supplies have been depleted by the shuttle crew taking safe haven.

If Atlantis' LON mission is added to the manifest as a standalone flight, then rescue of the crew would fall to Soyuz (details are being worked out with the Russians now) but another shuttle flight would not be scheduled.

All times are CT (US)

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