I made myself a promise some time ago. It seemed like I had forever to fulfill that promise. I then updated it when I had children.
Not too much time is left. I obviously can’t make the first one on this list. Waiting until the last (or even second or third to last) is risky; it assumes budgets that may not pan out.
Anyone else want to go see a 4,400,000 pound object break Earth gravity? [edited to add: before Hammer calls me out, it’s only 4,400,000 on the pad… by the time it sheds the boosters, the fuel tank, and the lion’s share of the fuel, it’s down to under 300,000 lbs]
Proposed Launch Date: February 12, 2009
Mission Description: Discovery will bring the fourth starboard truss segment to the ISS on assembly flight 15A, as well as the fourth set of solar arrays and batteries. Click here for a video of how the assembly will be accomplished.
Crew: Lee Archambault, Dominic Antonelli, John Phillips, Steven R. Swanson, Joseph Acaba, Richard Arnold (Acaba and Arnold are Educator Astronauts). Additionally, STS-119 will bring JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata to the station as part of Expedition 18, and bring home astronaut Sandy Magnus.
Proposed Launch Date: May 15, 2009
Mission Description: Endeavour will deliver and install the final component of the Japanese Experiment Module, the Exposed Facility.
Crew: Mark Polansky, Doug Hurley, Christopher Cassidy, Thomas Marshburn, Dave Wolf, Julie Payette, as well as bringing ISS Expedition 19 Flight Engineer Timothy Kopra to the station and returning Koichi Wakata back home.
Proposed Launch Date: July 30, 2009
Mission Description: Atlantis’ primary payload will be the Italian Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Donatello, which will deliver equipment to allow for bringing the station crew from three to six.
Crew: Not yet set, but currently, Nicole Stott is scheduled to be brought to the station as part of the Expedition 19, and Tim Kopra will get a ride home. The additional astronauts for the increased ISS crew size have not yet been named.
dn7806-1_500-250×185 Only 11 Space Shuttle Missions Remain
Proposed Launch Date: October 15, 2009
Mission Description: Discovery will deliver the first two ExPRESS(Expedite the Processing of Experiments to the Space Station) Logistics Carriers, which allows for “outdoor” experiments at the ISS.
Crew: Not yet named, but astronaut Jeff Williams is scheduled to be brought on board as part of Expedition 20, and Nicole Stott brought home.
Proposed Launch Date: December 10, 2009
Shuttle: Endeavour, (possibly its last flight (see below)
Mission Description: Endeavour will bring supplies to the ISS in the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. No crew for the shuttle or station has yet been named.
Proposed Launch Date: February 11, 2010
Shuttle: Atlantis, on its final flight
Mission Description: Atlantis will deliver the Docking Cargo Module and the third and fourth EXPRESS Logistics Carriers to the ISS on Assembly Flight ULF5.
Proposed Launch Date: April 8, 2010
Shuttle: Discovery, its final flight
Mission Description: deliver the Node 3 components to the ISS, which includes advanced life support systems and a Cupola with a robotic workstation. It’s possible that this flight could be the final space shuttle mission if an additional contingency mission is not needed.
Proposed Launch Date: May 31, 2010
Shuttle: Endeavour (for sure the final flight!)
Mission Description: This is a contingency flight to finish any remaining construction or bring up any remaining components, and possibly bring the 5th ExPRESS Logistics Carrier. If needed, this will be the final space shuttle mission.