Sunday, July 10, 2011

Atlantis On Final Path to ISS

Per NASA press release:

Commander Chris Ferguson and the crew of space shuttle Atlantis performed the Terminal Initiation burn at 8:29 a.m. EDT, firing the left Orbital Maneuvering System engine for 12 seconds to place the shuttle on the final path for its 11:07 a.m. docking to the International Space Station, which is about eight miles away.

When Atlantis is about 600 feet from the station, Ferguson will guide the shuttle through a backflip rotation to expose the heat shield to station crew members who will snap high resolution digital photographs. Flight Engineers Sergei Volkov, Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa will use cameras with 1,000 mm, 800 mm and 400 mm lenses, respectively, to photograph Atlantis’ upper and lower surfaces through windows in the Zvezda Service Module. The photos will be transmitted to Mission Control in Houston for evaluation by imagery experts and mission managers to determine whether the heat shield sustained any damage during launch.