Orbiter Atlantis Returns From Successful Mission
Mission control specialists were all smiles as the Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis touched down at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., Sept. 20 at 3:56 a.m. EDT bringing the STS- 106 mission to a successful conclusion.
Atlantis made the 15th nighttime landing in the shuttle’s history. Powerful lights illuminated the three-mile-long runway as the spacecraft pierced the night sky for its on- time arrival.
While in orbit, the seven-member crew stocked the International Space Station with various supplies, conducted a six-hour spacewalk and made sure ISS is ready for its next visitors slated to arrive in two weeks followed by a permanent crew in November. Among the three tons of goods unloaded at the station were: shampoo, cream, shaving gel, moist towels and napkins, Russian and American meals, ear plugs, medical kits, labels, printer components, clamps, brackets, camera equipment and small bags for the first permanent crew to use in case the toilet jams. Hopefully they will not be needed, since the shuttle crew also installed a new toilet.
The next shuttle flight is slated for Oct. 5. Discovery’s mission will consist of four spacewalks that will wire up the first piece of station truss and a new shuttle docking port. That crew also plans to install toolboxes and power converters.
Discovery’s mission will precede the arrival of station commander William Shepherd and his two-cosmonaut crew, who are scheduled to arrive Nov. 1 and stay four months.