Wednesday, May 26, 2010

STS-132 Space Shuttle Mission to Station Complete

Space shuttle Atlantis descended to a smooth landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:48 a.m. EDT Wednesday, concluding the successful STS-132 mission to the International Space Station.

Atlantis undocked from the station Sunday after spending 7 days and 54 minutes docked to the orbiting laboratory. STS-132 was the 34th shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.

Image above: The newly-installed Rassvet Russian Mini-Research Module-1 is pictured with space shuttle Atlantis performing its flyaround of the International Space Station just after undocking. Credit: NASA

The third of five shuttle missions planned for 2010, this was the last scheduled flight for Atlantis. The mission delivered the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1 to the station. Also known as Rassvet ("dawn" in Russian), the module provides additional storage space and a new docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress spacecraft.

› Read more about the STS-132 mission

International Space Station Expedition 23 Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineer Alexander Skvortsov opened the hatch of the Mini Research Module-1, named Rassvet, Thursday.

The 11,000-pound module was attached to its permanent home on the Russian segment of the station May 18.

The new module will host a variety of biotechnology and biological science experiments and fluid physics and educational research. Rassvet contains a pressurized compartment with eight workstations, including a glove box to keep experiments separated from the in-cabin environment; two incubators to accommodate high- and low-temperature experiments; and a special platform to protect experiments from onboard vibrations.

Attached to its exterior is an experiment airlock that will be used on another Russian laboratory module set for delivery in 2012.

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