Shuttle Atlantis launches on its last mission

Space shuttle and six-man crew lift off for a 12-day mission to bring supplies, spare parts, to space station

NASA's space shuttle Atlantislifted off at 2:20 p.m. EDT today, heading out on the final mission of its 25-year career.

Atlantis and its six-man crew launched into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle, on a 12-day mission to bring supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station, entered orbit within nine minutes after liftoff.

NASA had predicted that the shuttle had a 70% chance of clear weather and the spacecraft launched into clear blue skies.

On its 32nd mission, Atlantis will ferry an 11,000-pound Russian-built mini research module to the station, along with new batteries for the facility's solar array, a spare communications dish antenna and scientific experiments.

"Twelve days, three [spacewalks], tons of robotics ... We're putting on spares that make us feel good about the long-term sustainability of the [space station], replacing batteries that have been up there for a while, and docking a Russian-built ISS module," said John Shannon, space shuttle program manager, in a statement. "This flight has a little bit of everything."

The research module is nearly 20 feet long and eight feet wide. It will be attached to the space station and will be used for storage and as extra work space.

Attaching the new module and the spare communications antenna will be the top priorities for the six astronauts during three planned spacewalks.

While this is the last planned mission for Atlantis , which already has logged 115 million miles , NASA has two more flights scheduled with other shuttles before the entire fleet is retired. The final shuttle mission is scheduled for November.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld . Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Knowledge Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NASA

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Computerworld Staff

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Exec

Budget

TerraCycle Zero Waste Box Pens and Markers Small

Learn more >

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?