May 24, 2010 — Meeting at NASA's Johnson Space Center, the STS-132 Mission Management Team gave a collective "thumbs up" for space shuttle Atlantis to return to Earth on Wednesday to conclude the crew's 12-day journey to the International Space Station. Mission managers came to their decision after a late-inspection by the shuttles crew showed the orbiters thermal protection system was intact and had not been compromised during its week-long stay at the ISS.
STS-132 (ISS assembly flight ULF4) is the current Space Shuttle mission, which docked with the International Space Station on May 16, 2010. It was launched from the Kennedy Space Center on 14 May 2010. The primary payload is the Russian Rassvet Mini-Research Module along with an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD). STS-132 is the first US spaceflight since STS-97 to have only veteran astronauts (astronauts that have flown at least one previous mission) on board.
Mini-Research Module 1 (MRM 1)
STS-132 is scheduled to carry the Russian Mini-Research Module 1 to the International Space Station. MRM 1 is named Rassvet, which means "dawn" in Russian. It was built by the Russian aerospace company Energia. MRM 1 arrived at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) aboard an Antonov 124 cargo plane on 17 December 2009 at about 13:00 EST. After it was unloaded from the Antonov, the module was transported to an Astrotech processing bay in Cape Canaveral to undergo preparations for launch.
An airlock and radiation heat exchanger to be used for outfitting the Russian Nauka Module (to be launched in 2012), a spare elbow part of the European Robotic Arm (ERA) and a portable work platform for science hardware for performing experiments in outer space will be externally mounted on MRM1 in its launch configuration. Russian and US cargo to be delivered will also be accommodated inside the module. The volume for cargo and science inside MRM1 is 5 cubic meters. MRM1 has Grapple fixtures to allow the module to be unloaded from the payload bay of Atlantis. Berthing to the Zarya module will occur after the Space Shuttle has undocked from the Space Station.
Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD)
Also on board Atlantis will be the Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD) pallet holding a Ku-band Space to Ground Antenna (SGANT), SGANT boom assembly, Enhanced Orbital replacement Unit (ORU) Temporary Platform (EOTP) for the Canadian Dextre robotic arm extension, Video and Power Grapple fixtures (PVGF) and six new battery ORUs. The six new batteries will replace older ones on the P6 truss of the ISS. The old batteries will be placed on the ICC-VLD pallet for return to Earth. The EOTP was built by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, for NASA.
The ICC pallet is constructed of aluminum. It is approximately 8 feet long, 13 feet wide and 10 inches thick. The empty weight of the pallet is 2,645 pounds. The total weight of ICCâ