The space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on-time today at 1:28 pm CST from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle and its crew of six astronauts have an 11-day mission to the International Space Station. They also are carrying an interesting experiment for K-12 students, Butterflies in Space.
Posted tagged ‘Atlantis’
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When the space shuttle Atlantis launches Monday it will have a few extra passengers aboard, namely, monarch and painted lady adult butterflies and larvae. The experiment is from the University of Colorado-Boulder and will be monitored by thousands of K-12 students. The students will be able to study the effects of space travel on the little butterfly astronauts, comparing the development of the butterfly larvae in space with butterfly larvae reared in their own classrooms. For more information on butterflies in space, see ScienceDaily.
You can check out cool video of the piggybacked shuttle getting ready to land at Flickr.
The space shuttle Atlantis was being readied over the past few days for its return trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on the back of one NASA’s specially engineered 747s. The Ferry Flight of Atlantis is scheduled to take off this morning from Edwards Air Force Base in California. If you are interested in learning more, one of the NASA employees has been blogging about preparations for the Ferry Flight on the NASA website. There are lots of cool pictures of Atlantis being prepped for shipment on the blog also.
After having landings in Florida cancelled on Friday, Saturday & Sunday due to thunderstorms, the space shuttle Atlantis was forced to land at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave. NASA tries to avoid landings in California rather than Florida because NASA loses approximately a week of work and close to $2 million in ferry costs for the shuttle by landing there.
In other NASA news, President Obama has named four-time space shuttle astronaut Charles Bolden, Jr., a retired Marine major general, to be the next administrator of NASA. Bolden has long been a favorite of employees for the top position at NASA. Also, many speculate that the pick of Bolden means that human spaceflight will continue, rather than be on the chopping block as some have argued.
Finally, with Atlantis back on Earth, NASA is gearing up for another shuttle mission. The space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled for launch on June 13 with a return to the International Space Station.