When Space Shuttle Atlantis left Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on Friday, July 8, it marked the final liftoff for the long-running Space Shuttle Program, which has dominated NASA's manned operations for the past four decades. Over a 12-day mission (since extended to 13 days), the four-person crew on STS-135 will haul the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC) to the International Space Station. Over the course of the mission, we'll be providing daily updates.
The wake-up song for flight day 10 aboard the combined Space Shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station complex was Kool & the Gang's "Celebration," which was played at 10:59 p.m. EDT. That song, as is the tradition, was followed by a special prerecorded message, this one from the employees on the ground at NASA's Stennis Space Center.
In the middle of the flight day, the data processing experts at Mission Control announced that the Shuttle's General Purpose Computer (GPC) 4, which was having some problems earlier in the mission, is healthy again. The experts "believe an unknown hardware glitch caused the computer to shut down," NASA reported, but are convinced things are stable again after spending some time reviewing data from the failure and observing standard operations ever since. Commander Chris Ferguson has reassigned GPC 4 to handle the systems management aboard the Shuttle, returning it to the role it played before the problems started. While GPC 1 works as the control, navigation and guidance computer, GPCs 2 and 3 are in standby mode, ready to fill in should anything else go wrong.
At 6:09 a.m. EDT, mission specialist Rex Walheim and Atlantis pilot Doug Hurley took a break from their long day transferring equipment and supplies out of the Raffaello module to answer questions from NASA Explorer School students live on NASA Television. Still, the combined crew was able to just about finish up the transfer, which has been going on for days. Early Monday, should everything go according to schedule, the Raffaello module, now filled with nearly 6,000 pounds of supplies and trash that need to be brought back to Earth, will be unberther from the Station's Harmony node and attached to Atlantis' cargo bay for the return trip.
The crew started enjoying some time off around 7:30 a.m. and it was in bed by 2:30 p.m. EDT. They are scheduled to awaken at 10:29 p.m. for flight day 11.