The next space shuttle mission STS-129, slated to launch next Monday Nov. 16, is a “spare parts and stock-up” mission. And the needed extra parts and supplies delivered to the International Space Station by Atlantis will mean spare years on the station’s life once the space shuttle fleet is retired. The mission is a landmark of sorts — not sure if it is a good landmark or bad — but STS-129 is scheduled to be the last space shuttle crew rotation flight. From here on out, crew rotation will be done by the Soyuz and any future commercial vehicle that may come online. Besides the crew, a payload of spiders and butterfly larvae will be on board Atlantis for an experiment that will be monitored by thousands of K-12 students across US. Find out more about the flight with a video preview of the mission, below.
STS-129 will be commanded by Charlie Hobaugh and piloted by Barry Wilmore. Mission Specialists are Robert Satcher Jr., Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik and Leland Melvin. Wilmore, Satcher and Bresnik will be making their first trips to space. The mission will return station crew member Nicole Stott to Earth.
The crew will deliver two control moment gyroscopes and other equipment, plus the EXPRESS Logistics Carrier 1 and 2 to the station. The mission will feature three spacewalks.