Thursday, April 22, 2010
T-524 (hours) and counting
Atlantis rolled up to the pad yesterday for what will be its last mission. This is the 39th time Atlantis has rolled onto the pad, though only its 32nd launch (technical issues and weather accounted for the others.) Atlantis is the only shuttle to have also had a "half roll," necessitated when a tropical storm weakened and the shuttle, which was rolling off the launch pad, got a "never mind" from NASA and rolled back on. Atlantis is the fourth of NASA's shuttles, younger than Columbia, Challenger and Discovery and older than Endeavor.
The shuttles, with their 2.5 million parts, have been called the most complex machines ever created by humans.
Atlantis's mission is to deliver a Russian-made research module to the ISS.
The crew of six is led by our man, Garrett (well, no it's not, but this blog isn't about Commander Ken Ham). Anyway, here are the guys who will make this thing go:
Ken Ham, a former Navy pilot; Dominic Antonelli, another former Navy pilot; Michael Good, an Air Force pilot; Piers Sellers, a British geophysicist; and Stephen Bowen, a Navy submariner. Then, there's ol' what's-his-name.
Among them, they have logged more time in space than I have logged at Manuel's Tavern, and, let me point out, that is no small amount of time.
Mary and I will be there, waving to Garrett, and asking plaintively, "Do you think he can see us?"