Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” was the first wake-up song heard by the final shuttle STS-135 crew at 2:59 EDT this morning; beginning a very busy day for the four crew members.
NASA workers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama chose this song to play alongside a cheerful morning greeting to the team.
The researchers began their first full day of the mission in space by inspecting the heat shield on Atlantis, making sure there was no damage incurred during the orbit into space.
Using Atlantis’s robotic arm and anchored cameras located on the shuttle, specialized images of the carbon that helps protect the shuttle wing were taken.
A statement was released at 12:37 EDT, confirming that the crew members successfully completed the examination. Experts on Earth will then analyze the data to ensure that all is still well for the space shuttle, which has taken its 33rd flight for NASA.
The results of the data will be relayed in an upcoming Mission Management Team (MMT) meeting.
Crew members are expected to end the day at 6:30 p.m.
The Final Space Shuttle Mission
NASA began its last space shuttle mission on Friday with the launch of space shuttle Atlantis at 11:29 a.m. EDT, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
This 12-day mission will include testing special instruments and methods needed for refueling space satellites and transporting a faulty ammonia pump from the International Space station.
Many worry about the future of NASA now that the final mission is underway, but NASA officials insist there is more work to be done.
“As a former astronaut and the current NASA Administrator, I’m here to tell you that American leadership in space will continue for at least the next half-century,” says Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, “Because we have laid the foundation for success — and failure is not an option.”
Existing and future projects for NASA include finding ways to transport humans to Mars, maintaining the International Space station, which houses a national laboratory with cutting edge research, and continuing special missions to explore asteroids, Jupiter, and the moon.
To get up –to-date coverage on the Atlantis shuttle mission, go to http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle. Receive the latest updates from NASA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nasa.
Explore the friendly Grand Rapids night skies by visiting your local planetarium.
NASA Press Release