First full day in orbit for Atlantis nearly perfect

Posted July 09, 2011, at 4:36 p.m.
The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center Friday, July 8, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is the 135th and final space shuttle launch for NASA.
AP Photo/John Raoux
The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center Friday, July 8, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis is the 135th and final space shuttle launch for NASA.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida — The space shuttle Atlantis hasn’t performed like a ship ready for retirement.

The first full day of the final flight of the aging space shuttle fleet has been practically flawless.

NASA officials say the unusually small four-person crew of Atlantis worked through lunch Saturday and finished their tasks in near record time. After Friday’s launch, the astronauts inspected the shuttle’s heat shield for launch damage and prepared for Sunday’s docking with the International Space Station.

So far, Atlantis doesn’t even have minor glitches. The worst problem is that the crew could not find an eye chart for a vision test, something that caused a chuckle among ground controllers.

Flight Director Kwatsi Alibaruho said the lack of problems allows engineers to enjoy the final flight more.

 

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