A media event was held for the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) that was on display in a tent on the grounds of the Press Site at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida during launch activities for space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The MPCV is based on the Orion design requirements for traveling beyond low Earth orbit and will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
Atlantis began its final flight, with Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim on board, at 11:29 a.m. EDT July 8 to deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the station. Also in Atlantis' payload bay is the Robotic Refueling Mission experiment that will investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing satellites in orbit. In addition, Atlantis will return with a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. STS-135 is the 33rd flight of Atlantis, the 37th shuttle mission to the space station, and the 135th and final mission of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts135/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann