STS -129 (English Space Transportation System) is the designation for a flight mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis ( OV 104) of NASA. The launch took place on 16 November 2009 at 19:28 UTC.

The mission STS -129 brought supplies, spare parts and experiments using the EXPRESS Logistics Carrier ( ELC) 1 and 2 to the International Space Station. During their mission, the astronauts installed the two ELCs and work performed during three spacewalks upcoming maintenance at the station.

  • 3.1 Start, Rendezvous and coupling
  • 3.2 Work on the ISS
  • 3.3 Return


The crew was announced on 30 September 2008.

  • Charlie Hobaugh ( third space flight), Commander
  • Barry Wilmore ( 1 space flight), Pilot
  • Robert Satcher ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Michael Foreman ( second space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Randolph Bresnik ( first space flight), Mission Specialist
  • Leland Melvin ( second space flight), Mission Specialist

ISS Crew Return

ISS Expedition 20

  • Nicole Stott ( first space flight ), aircraft engineer

This was the last flight during which a crew member of ISS was picked up by a Space Shuttle. After that, the team exchange was settled exclusively by Soyuz spaceships.


After returning from the Hubble repair mission STS -125 Space Shuttle Atlantis was returned to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Edwards Air Force Base in California to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In the Orbiter Processing Facility, routine inspections and repairs of the space shuttle took place.

It was found that during the last mission of Atlantis, a holding knob working light was caught between the cockpit panel and cockpit Disc No. 5 by accident and later by the increase in the external pressure before landing jammed there. The removal of the knob was not until after the crew cabin was pressurized. If the disc jumped it, the repair would have taken six months, even the closure of Atlantis would have been an option in the case.

The stacking of the solid rocket boosters began in March 2009, in September, the external tank was connected to the boosters. On 6 October, the shuttle was transferred to the Vehicle Assembly Building ( VAB), where it was joined two days later with the outer tank. The entire start construction with the Atlantis was moved to the launch pad at the so-called roll-out on October 14. The crew flew on 19 October for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test to Florida. Because of the upcoming Ares IX test flight, the dress rehearsal was shortened and the rest of the training carried out on November 2 and 3. When ready for flight acceptance on October 29, called the Flight Readiness Review ( FRR), the start date was officially set on November 16. In addition, a larger structural problem to the suspension an OMS pod was discussed during the review, the engineers, however, managed to find a solution and the countdown started without any delay in time.

Due to two other unmanned missions, which should start in early November from Cape Canaveral, the launch window for STS -129 was at that time only two days. A few days before the scheduled shuttle launch should be an Atlas V from Cape Canaveral stand out, a few days later, a Delta IV The shuttle would have been at a postponement of the launch of the Atlas V to only 24 hours even a day. However, since the launch of the Atlas V AV -024 had to be postponed for technical reasons longer, the other planned launches had no effect on the start window of STS- 129th Had the shuttle in the specified launch window for technical or meteorological reasons, can not start, it would have been only the beginning of December possible. This is due to the angle of the ISS -Bahn to the sun, as a docked shuttle would overheat at a start after November 21. This phase, which lasted until December 6, is also called beta angle cutout or beta cutout.

Mission History

Start, Rendezvous and coupling

The first launch date was set for November 16, 2009. Since there were no major technical problems and the weather cooperated, the Atlantis took off at 19:28:10 UTC. Also, the eight and a half minute climb was error-free. After switching off the main engines, the crew began preparations for the first thruster firing (OMS -2) the OMS engines, which took place after about 40 minutes. Forty-five minutes later, the payload bay was open and the robot arm activated. Shortly thereafter, the crew went to sleep and finished the first day of flying.

The second flight day (November 17 ) was the usual inspection of the heat shield using the orbiter boom sensor system and preparing the spacesuits and the coupling device.

The coupling of Atlantis found on the third flight day (18th November) at 15:51 UTC, after Atlantis had the rendezvous pitch maneuver performed. At 18:28 UTC, the hatches between the two spacecraft were opened and the crews greeted each other. By opening the hatches Nicole Stott was officially part of the Atlantis crew. The crews worked a little later in the assembly of the ELC -1 palette and brought these with the help of the robotic arms of the shuttle and the station on the port side of the station (in standard flight left). The ISS is but rotated to protect the sensitive heat shield of the shuttle during the mission to 180 degrees. They also began with the transfer of equipment for the planned spacewalks. To (especially nitrogen) to reduce the dissolved gases in their bodies, Mike Foreman and Robert Satcher went into the airlock Quest and spent the night rest there, where they breathed pure oxygen under reduced pressure. This process, called Campout is carried out prior to each exit.

Work on the ISS

The exit of the fourth flight day (November 19 ) began with the switching of spacesuits to internal energy sources 14:24 UTC. Foreman and Satcher worked, first, to bring a spare S-band antenna on the Z1 element. They completed this task an hour before the scheduled time and then split up. Foreman installed a radio antenna on the Destiny module before joining the Unity module, where he exchanged a handrail against a bracket for an ammonia line for future Tranquility node. Satcher anointed the coupling points for the Stationsarm the mobile base system and Kibo arm. After these tasks, they were given two hours for other tasks. It was decided, in addition to support for external payloads (PAS ) on the near side of the starboard boom deploy S3 of the station, instead of doing only perform during the second exit. The withdrawal ended after 6 hours and 37 minutes around 21:01 UTC.

During the phase-out started in Unity module in order to prepare the planned for February of the Tranquility module arrival. The Expedition 21 members Frank De Winne and Jeffrey Williams put in this context lines for ventilation, power, data and cooling.

Flight day five ( 20 November) was mainly for maintenance at the Atlantis and the station. A number of components have been replaced, while at the same time the material transfer was continued between the spacecraft. In the payload bay of the shuttle, the coupling of the ELC - 2 platform was performed using the robot arm of the Atlantis to day to pass this on to be installed on the robotic arm of the station. The day ended with the start of camp outs of Duos Foreman - Bresnik in preparation for the second exit.

In the sleep period between flight days five and six (21 November ) there was a decompression, but it should turn out to be a false alarm. To give the crew a compensation for lack of sleep, some of the activities of the sixth flight day were moved to the rear. So the second exit of the mission did not begin until 14:31 UTC, after ELC -2 was attached to the S3 segment. Foreman and Bresniks first task was to install a designated as GATOR antenna which identify approaching spacecraft and make radio contact with them should. You could complete the task with a time saving of 40 minutes to complete and went then to the P1 segment and changed the position of a measuring unit for the electric potential of the station so that the planned for 2010 for mounting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer can be attached there. The duo then went to the S1 segment and developed further support for external payloads (PAS ) before they installed a receiver for the signals of the wireless helmet cameras on the S3 segment. Since in this task time could be won, the astronauts another PAS was applied to open at S3. They then worked on some antenna cables, which could not be connected during the previous shuttle mission STS -128. Although a connection succeeded, but the signals from the antennas were not as expected. After a few more tasks at the PMA -1 module, the astronauts completed almost six hours and eight -minute exit 20:39 UTC.

Flight day seven ( November 22 ) began with the news of Bresnik that his daughter was born in the night from Saturday to Sunday. He had recently experienced this in a private phone call. The crews had gotten released the first half of the day and prepared for later in the day on the third and last exit before the mission for which Bresnik and Satcher began a campout.

The third exit on the seventh day of flying (November 23 ) began more than an hour later than planned at 12:24 UTC, so that the EVA was cut from the Mission line. A water valve in Satchers space suit had slipped, but the problem could be resolved before the start of the exit. The astronauts installed an oxygen tank, which was delivered on ELC -2, at the Quest airlock and brought the MISSE - 7 package on ELC -2. They removed some micrometeorite shields Quest and secured them to the external storage platform ESP -2. Satcher then worked on an ammonia tank, which he on STS -131 partially dissolved to prepare and installed some heat protective mats on the cameras of the Mobile Servicing System and the grasping mechanism of Stationsroboterarms. Bresnik worked on the electronics of the station. The withdrawal ended at 18:06 UTC, after 5 hours and 42 minutes.

The eighth flight day (November 24 ) was the preparations for the decoupling of Atlantis. In addition, Frank De Winne transferred the command of the station to Jeffrey Williams. This was the first time that this has been carried out in the presence of a guest crew. The hatches were finally closed at 18:12 UTC.


On the ninth day of flying (November 25 ) at 9:53 UTC the Atlantis again separated from the space station, which was then circled once to capture the state of the station photographically. The crew then began to investigate the heat shield again using the OBSS.

On the 10th flight day (26 November ) were the preparations on for landing. There were stowed loose items and tested the necessary for re-entry and landing systems. In addition, a special reclining seat for Nicole Stott was set up to facilitate their adaptation to gravity after more than 90 days in space. In addition, the crew members had been given the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional meal, but they had not done such a startup with it. Obviously, it was donated by the crew of the International Space Station.

The first landing attempt was the eleventh flight day (November 27 ) at the Kennedy Space Center planned. As the weather at the landing site was impeccable, the landing by the so-called deorbit burn was initiated at 13:37 UTC, which slowed the shuttle enough to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere. The main landing gear set for a perfect flight at 14:44:23 UTC on track 33 of the Shuttle Landing Facility. A little later, a vehicle convoy reached the space shuttle and started their backup. After a brief medical check, the crew proceeded with the exception of Nicole Stott to the traditional walk around the orbiter. The Atlantis was then transferred back to their hangar to be prepared for their second last mission, STS -132.