An exhaust cloud begins to form at Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the engines ignite on space shuttle Atlantis.
Liftoff on its STS-129 mission came at 2:28 p.m. EST Nov. 16. Aboard are crew members Commander Charles O. Hobaugh; Pilot Barry E. Wilmore; and Mission Specialists Leland Melvin, Randy Bresnik, Mike Foreman and Robert L. Satcher Jr. On STS-129, the crew will deliver two ExPRESS Logistics Carriers to the International Space Station, the largest of the shuttle's cargo carriers, containing 15 spare pieces of equipment including two gyroscopes, two nitrogen tank assemblies, two pump modules, an ammonia tank assembly and a spare latching end effector for the station's robotic arm. Atlantis will return to Earth a station crew member, Nicole Stott, who has spent more than two months aboard the orbiting laboratory. STS-129 is slated to be the final space shuttle Expedition crew rotation flight. For information on the STS-129 mission and crew, visit http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts129/index.html.
Photo credit: NASA/Tom Farrar and Tony Gray