Crew Packing and Performing Landing Checks

The STS-129 Crew
The seven-member crew of Atlantis is packing the orbiter and preparing to return home, wrapping up the 31st shuttle flight to the International Space Station. Atlantis is scheduled to land at 9:44 a.m. EST Friday at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Commander Charlie Hobaugh and Pilot Barry Wilmore, with help from Mission Specialist Randy Bresnik, will check out Atlantis' flight control surfaces, including the rudder and the wing flaps. Those surfaces will guide Atlantis’ unpowered flight through the atmosphere to a landing. The astronauts also will test fire reaction control system thrusters. The thrusters will control the shuttle’s orientation as it descends and begins its re-entry through the atmosphere.

A recumbent seat for Mission Specialist Nicole Stott will be setup on the shuttle's mid-deck. Stott is returning after 90 days in space, 80 as a station crewmember.

Tuesday at 10 a.m., European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne handed over command of the station to NASA astronaut Jeff Williams. De Winne and Expedition 21 Flight Engineers Roman Romanenko and Robert Thirsk are scheduled to leave the station for return to Earth in a Soyuz capsule on Nov. 30.