After many climate setbacks, the space shuttle Atlantis lifted off Friday for the last trip of the shuttle program. It was a difficult instant for many connected with the program. The end of the program will open the door for a new section in NASA's exploration of space. Source for this article - Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off on its final mission by Newsytype.com.
Delays in the launch
After several setbacks from bad weather, the Atlantis and its crew of four took off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., this morning at 10:29 EDT. The shuttle beat the probabilities as there was only a 30 percent possibility it would happen today. The delay was very slight. The retractable arm on the launch pad had an issue causing a two minute delay to take place. However, the problem was determined to not be a danger.
"This is the start of a sentimental journey into history," a NASA commentator said. "Atlantis is flexing its muscles one final time."
Learn what the mission is for
STS-135, the quest, is going to be the last of the 30 year program making it the 33rd flight. Part of the 13-day mission is to restock the ISS. It will get new equipment and supplies. The only way to get to the space station in the future will be through Russian space crafts. This is the plan for now. Experts predict that commercial ventures will deal with the duty in a decade or so.
The role of robots in space exploration
Lots of the equipment being taken to the space station is experimental. It will help see how space makes a difference to the way robots and humans interact. Robots will become increasingly more significant the further they're in space, National Aeronautics and Space Administration believes. There is a huge piece of equipment as part of the cargo that should be able to tell if satellites can be refueled robotically.
"What have we learned in robotics in 30 years? This is it. It's all led up to this," said Brian Roberts, a robotics expert at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "We've practiced on the ground, but we need to see how this would work floating around in space. ... We'll learn a lot of what works well and what doesn't work. We're trying to show the capabilities of robots and their abilities to do these tasks."
App made just for space
An iPhone will be going to the space station on Mission STS-135. A new app designed to track the results of various experiments will be tested. The app could help with space navigation as well.
More things to look into
"This is not the end of human spaceflight," said NASA's Chief Technologist Bobby Braun via Twitter. "It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
There will be a plan for the Dawn spacecraft later this month. The asteroid Vesta will be orbited. In order to study magnetic forces of larger planets, craft June will lift off next month. In Sept, the Gravity Recovery and Interior laboratory (GRAIL) quest will launch for the moon to try to determine the size and composition of its core.