Space shuttle Atlantis lands in Florida
Wednesday 26 May 2010
The space shuttle Atlantis landed in Florida today, capping a 12-day mission to deliver a new module to the International Space Station before Nasa retires the shuttle fleet after two more flights.
Circling high over the Kennedy Space Centre to burn off speed, commander Ken Ham gently nosed the 100-ton ship toward a landing strip three miles away from where he and five crew mates blasted off on May 14 to begin Nasa's 132nd shuttle mission.
Atlantis touched down at 8:48am, completing its 32nd and final flight. The shuttles began flying in 1981 and are being retired due to cost and safety concerns.
Nasa plans to fly each of its remaining shuttles, Discovery and Endeavour, once more this year to complete assembly and outfitting of the space station, a $100bn project of 16 nations that has been under construction for 12 years.
President Barack Obama wants to cancel a follow-on programme to the shuttles to develop rockets and capsules aimed at returning US astronauts to the moon, and instead develop new technologies for travel farther from Earth. The proposal, which is pending before Congress, is controversial.
During a weeklong stay at the station, Ham, pilot Dominic "Tony" Antonelli, spacewalkers Garrett Reisman, Steve Bowen and Michael Good and astronaut Piers Sellers delivered and installed a Russian docking and research laboratory, six huge batteries for the station's solar power system, a spare communications antenna and a work platform for the station's Canadian-built crane.
Before being turned over to a museum, Atlantis will be prepared as an emergency rescue ship for the last shuttle crew.
Nasa is evaluating proposals from museums and science centres wanting to display Atlantis and Endeavour. Discovery, which is scheduled to make its last flight in September, is promised to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Endeavour, which will carry the $2bn Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector to the station, is scheduled to be the programme's finale in November.
By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...