Thu, May 21, 2009
Testifies Thursday, Before the Senate -- From Orbit
As Atlantis’ crew prepares for landing Friday, mission
managers are closely monitoring a low pressure system that has
brought 16 inches of rain in three days to the Shuttle Landing
Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Forecasters report the system is slowly moving away but it could
still bring more rain, possible thunderstorms and winds that could
violate the shuttle’s flight rules into the Florida spaceport
area. The two Friday landing opportunities are at 10:00 and 11:39
Should mission managers wave off landing the next four
opportunities will be Saturday with two at Kennedy and two at
Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In preparation for landing, Atlantis’ crew tested the
ship’s flight control surfaces and reaction control system
thrusters. Both systems functioned well and are ready to support
In another first for spaceflight, the STS-125 crew testified
before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, chaired by Senator
Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. She, and former astronaut Sen. Bill
Nelson of Florida, talked with the crew.
The STS-125 crew is the first to testify live from space in a
Senate hearing. Astronaut John Phillips gave the first
congressional testimony live from space on June 14, 2005, during
Expedition 11, when he testified before the House Science
Committee, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.
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