Saturday, May 22, 2010

Astronauts Return Cargo Carrier Back to Atlantis

Atlantis will undock from station on Sunday (NASA)

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station returned a cargo carrier back to the shuttle Atlantis' payload bay having delivered six fresh batteries and a new high gain antenna.

The eight-foot long cargo pallet was installed into Atlantis' bay at 5:50 am EDT this morning, by astronauts Piers Sellers and Garrett Reisman who used the station's robotic arm to slowly guide it over and stow it into place.

The carrier is now host to six old batteries which had been located on the station's Port 6 truss solar array for nearly ten years. On Wednesday and Friday, spacewalking astronauts replaced the old batteries with the new ones Atlantis carried to orbit on the carrier.

The crews are also transferring fresh supplies such as 10 lbs of nitrogen, nearly 20 pounds of oxygen and 1200 of 1300 pounds of water from Atlantis to the orbital complex.

During Atlantis' final full day docked with the orbital outpost, the combined crews of twelve will complete several last minute transfer of supplies to and garbage from the station.

Atlantis will also return a large number of experiments, old clothes, air and water samples for testing back on earth.

The crew's will also relax and enjoy several hours of off-duty time before going to bed at 4:50 pm.

On Sunday, the combined crews will hold a nearly one-hour traditional in-flight news conference beginning at 6:25 am.

Atlantis is scheduled to undock from the station later that morning at 11:22 am EDT, to begin her return trip back to the Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.

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