"As we begin work on the NASA reauthorization bill for fiscal year 2011, I write to inform you of my intention to include language authorizing an additional space shuttle flight... this new mission. STS-135, would be flown with a minimum crew of four astronauts and would provide critical spare parts and logistics for long-term ISS operations"
ISS News: May 2010 Archives
"NASA is currently in the conceptual phase of developing requirements for a Commercial Crew Transportation (CCT) capability that would be able to transport NASA astronauts and spaceflight participants safely to and from LEO and the ISS. The purpose of this RFI is to collect information from industry to help NASA plan the overall strategy for the development and demonstration of a CCT capability and to receive comments on NASA human-rating technical requirements that have been drafted as part of this initiative."
"This image features the space shuttle Atlantis's cabin and forward cargo bay and part of the International Space Station while the two spacecraft remain docked, during STS-132's flight day four extravehicular activity of astronauts Garrett Reisman and Steve Bowen (both out of frame). Though three sessions of extravehicular activity (EVA) will involve only three astronauts (two on each occasion) who actually leave the shirt leave environments of the two docked spacecraft, all twelve astronauts and cosmonauts on the two combined crews have roles in supporting the EVA work."
Atlantis' Last Blast Into Space, Ken Kremer
"Space Shuttle Atlantis thundered to space today, May 14, for her last blast to the High Frontier. The STS 132 flight is Atlantis 32nd and final planned mission. Her journey with a lucky crew of six eager and experienced male astronauts began with a ground shaking rumble at 2:20 PM EDT from Launch Pad 39 A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."
"One of the final space shuttle visits to the International Space Station began at 2:20 p.m. Friday with the launch of Atlantis and six astronauts from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida."
Gorgeous Atlantis Set to Soar, Ken Kremer
"Space Shuttle Atlantis was unveiled for blast off to the heavens above on a sunny late Thursday afternoon (May 13) as the countdown clocks tick down for launch on Friday at 2:20 PM EDT from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida."
Atlantis GO for Launch as Soyuz Clears Path, Ken Kremer
"NASA Shuttle managers met early this morning and then announced a unanimous "GO" for launch of Atlantis on her last planned flight to space at today's (May 12) press briefing at the Kennedy Space Center. There are no technical issues standing in the way of a launch from pad 39 A on Friday, May 14. "Everything is looking great. The vehicle is in great shape out at the pad," said Mike Moses, chair of the Mission Management Team."
"The Aerospace Corporation is pleased to submit responses to questions from the Committee on Science and Technology regarding our support to the Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee (the Committee.) Your letter requested responses related to our analyses performed in support of the Committee, and we have answered in that context. In several areas of questioning, the Committee did not task Aerospace. In some areas, Aerospace has previously performed related studies or analyses for NASA. We are always available to discuss these studies with the committee if desired."
"The Historic Countdown has officially begun for the last planned blast off of Space Shuttle Atlantis. The clocks at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) began ticking down at 4 PM EDT today (Tuesday) from the T minus 43 hour mark towards a launch at 2:20 PM on Friday May 14. KSC launch controllers reported to their consoles at 3:30 PM for the formal "call-to-stations" at the Launch Control Center to initiate preparations for liftoff of the STS 132 mission on Atlantis 32rd journey to the high frontier."
"Space Shuttle Atlantis is slated to blast off on her final scheduled mission to space on Friday, May 14 at 2:20 PM EDT from Launch Pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. Atlantis is bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on a complex assembly mission to put the "finishing touches" on the massive orbiting outpost. The principal payload nested inside her cargo bay is a stunning Russian Science Beauty named 'Rassvet'. The primary goal of STS 132 is to deliver the Russian built 'Rassvet' module to the ISS. Although 'Rassvet' was constructed entirely in Russia, the module is hitching a ride to space on the American Shuttle Atlantis according to a complex barter agreement to share costs between partner nations of the ISS."
"Florida's space industry remained a forefront issue for legislators throughout the 2010 legislative session, which concluded on April 30. Faced with the impending Shuttle retirement (expected to result in 23,000 direct and indirect job losses, contributing to significant economic impact across the state), the legislature voted to unanimously support critical legislation designed to stimulate economic development and promote aerospace industry jobs."
"The international space station's research capabilities are now available after years of construction and $100 billion of investment. It offers opportunities to conduct research in an environment unavailable on Earth and it must be sustained, but not just for the sake of science. One problem in the president's proposal is that it does not address the risk to the station that will result from retiring the space shuttle and canceling the Constellation replacement program at the same time. A healthy and viable space station is critical to the emergence of the commercial space industry that the president's proposal relies on. If the space station is lost, the primary reason to send humans into space in the next decade will be lost."
"While we are encouraged the president showed a willingness to make some changes to his proposal for NASA during his visit to Florida, members of Congress from both parties still have concerns. These concerns include the readiness of the commercial space industry to fill the role the president envisions, and how to minimize the risk to the International Space Station, which after more than a decade of construction and $100 billion in investment is about to realize its full research potential."
Pitching for NASA, Hutchison back in the game, Houston Chronicle
"Legislation crafted by Hutchison in the Senate and Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, a Florida Democrat in the House, would require NASA to identify and make specific delivery arrangements for supplies and equipment needed by the orbiting space laboratory before steps are taken to end shuttle operations this year."
Keith's note: According to comments made by Jeff Bingham, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation Science and Space Subcommittee staffer, posting as "51D Mascot": "Under a CR with everything at FY 2010 levels, shuttle funding would be retained at a level sufficient to enable continuing operations. There is nothing anywhere in statute requiring shuttle termination (anything written in recent statutes has pushed AGAINST that termination, actually, while not actually requiring continuation). The issue would be whether the agency could "reprogram" those funds to other uses consistent with the FY 2011 request as an administrative action. That's technically "possible" but it will depend on whether the appropriators would find that acceptable. (no reason right now to think they wouldn't but the debate on these major issues is really just beginning to gather steam within the Congress, so who knows?)"
"Since NASA appears to be taking actions this year that are, or may be, in violation of the clause in the Omnibus bill, don't be surprised to learn of legislative action in days and weeks to come to "fine tune" that language in some "appropriate" piece of legislation moving through the process at any time."