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Shuttle News

The Cape Week in Review by the Cape Insider

By jason_rhian
May 17, 2010
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The Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center (KSC) area was a hive of activity this week. The space shuttle Atlantis roared off the launch pad on its final mission, STS-132. Over at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex it was announced that the final frontier will beam down in the form of a live stage show. It was also revealed this week that come this September, Brevard County in general and KSC in particular will be playing host to robots in disguise!

KSC Visitor Complex takes guests where none have gone before
There have been numerous ties between the Star Trek universe and the American space program over the years – and now there is one more – a live stage show to be held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex entitled STAR TREK LIVE. The show will be interactive with guests taking on the role of Starfleet Academy cadets who have to take on a time-traveling Romulan warlord, (sound familiar?). Moreover, the show will educate the public about how we currently live and work in space.
The mixture of science fiction and science fact allows the public an easier time in learning all the ins and outs of modern space exploration. The 30-minute show will run five times a day and admission is included with a general admission ticket to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The show will make its worldwide debut at the space center on June 11 of this year.

The cast of the original series Star Trek visit Rockwell’s plant at Palmdale, California for the Enterprise dedication ceremony. Copyright NASA.

Star Trek cast with shuttle Enterprise.jpg
Transformers franchise to film at KSC
The third installment of the wildly successful Transformers series will have scenes filmed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center this coming September. The announcement was made by Brevard County Film Commissioner Bonnie King. While filming on KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a given, it has also been hinted that Optimus Prime and friends may make stops in and around the Brevard County area as Michael Bay, (the franchise’s director) has had a crew scouting the local area.
Local airports, as well as Patrick Air Force Station have been eyed as prime, (no pun intended) spots to shoot key scenes for the movie. The fact that September was chosen hints that Bay might be wanting to get a piece of history in his film – the final flight of Discovery. All total filming will take place over a period of eight days.
The local area is expected to take a heavy financial hit in the post-shuttle era as there will be no new immediate replacement. The estimated $2 million that the film is expected to bring to the area is therefore much welcomed by county officials. This is not the first film that Michael Bay has shot on KSC grounds – he shot many key scenes for his blockbuster Armageddon at KSC.
Delta rockets celebrate 50 years
Thursday, May 13, 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of the mighty Delta rockets. They were scheduled for a whole 12 flights, as a ‘gap-filler’ for other vehicles. Instead, what has followed is a legacy of success nearly unrivaled in spaceflight history. In 50 years there has been close to 350 Delta launches – with a success rate nearing 96 percent.
There have been some accidents, such as the loss of a Delta II at 13 seconds after launch, that accident is quickly put into perspective when one realizes all the incredible successes the rocket has had. Mars Pathfinder, Mars Odyssey, Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Phoenix Lander, Dawn, Deep Impact, Spitzer Space Telescope and all of the Global Positioning Satellites were sent aloft via the Delta.
Originally the Delta was flown by the Douglas Aircraft Company, which became McDonnell Douglas and then the rocket was flown by Boeing. Currently the Delta family of rockets is flown jointly between Boeing and Lockheed Martin under their United Launch Alliance partnership.

Delta II Launch. Copyright NASA.

Delta II launch.jpg
Atlantis ascends one last time
Space shuttle Atlantis and the crew of STS-132 thunderously reminded Central Florida that she and her sisters will be hard to replace as she lifted off right on time at 2:20 p.m. EDT, Friday May 14. This flight is currently the last planned for Atlantis, however; she will be held in reserve until the final mission of the space shuttle program, STS-134, which is scheduled to launch this November. Atlantis will then serve as an emergency rescue vehicle in case something goes wrong on-orbit.
Atlantis’ cargo for this flight includes the Russian Mini Research Module 1, (also known as the Rassvet Module) and the Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD) pallet that will hold a Ku-band Space to Ground Antenna (SGANT). A platform will also be brought to the orbiting outpost for the Dextre robot to store materials and tools on.
The launch took place under breezy conditions under a mostly-clear sky that allowed those in attendance to witness one of the final launches of the space shuttle program. NASA is working to ensure that, as much as possible, its doors are open to those that want to cover the final shuttle missions. As such, NASA hosted another of its ‘Tweetups’ at Kennedy Space Center during the launch. Currently there are only two remaining missions left in the shuttle program.

STS-132 Launch. Copyright John O’Connor (


The Cape Week in Review is compiled by Jason Rhian, the Cape Insider, and is a weekly round-up of what’s happening at Cape Canaveral. If you have information or suggestions for the Cape Week in Review please email us at