Yesterday morning, the Atlantis lifted off from Florida with four astronauts, aimed for the International Space Station. It is a twelve-day excursion, to resupply the ISS and tie the knot at the end of America’s 30-year extravaganza.
The shuttle, as well as refueling the ISS, with be testing some tech to refuel satellites, with is an important development if it works, because there are maybe hundreds of burned-out satellites orbiting the Earth. This will be the 33rd flight of Atlantis and the 135th shuttle mission.
But why are we throwing this away, the International Space Station? Because NASA is planning on reaching out farther into space. On their website, NASA has a page for future missions, where I found a list of four. Most are satellites, and they are using the Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) to create the most accurate map of the moon so far, tracking back to the ISS (via Russia), the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN will check out Mars’ atmosphere, and they will also measure for supernovas, black holes, and checking out extreme galaxies with the NuSTAR. Pretty cool, huh?
Oh, and in case you care, Atlantis will dock at the ISS at 11:07 AM on this Saturday morning, so kick it out now.
Space. So much space. Gotta see it all. Better buy a telescope.