Atlantis’ Crew Prepares for Landing
The crew of shuttle Atlantis spent Wednesday getting themselves and space shuttle Atlantis ready for the return home. They practiced landings on a laptop application, performed the flight control system checkout and checked out the reaction control system thrusters. All checked out well.
They also deployed a small, demonstration satellite, called PicoSat, from a canister in the shuttle cargo bay. The satellite will relay data back to investigators on the performance of its own solar cells for analysis and possible use on future space hardware. PicoSat was the 180th and final payload deployed in space shuttle history.
Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off July 8 on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 13-day mission to the International Space Station.
Atlantis carries a crew of four and the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station. The STS-135 astronauts are: Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.
Atlantis is scheduled to return to the Kennedy Space Center on Thursday, July 21, just before 6:00 a.m.