On Nov. 16, 2009, shuttle orbiter Atlantis launched to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a crew of six for the STS-129 mission.
It was eleven years ago this week, that Atlantis lifted off into history. The launch marked the 129th shuttle flight in NASA’s Space Shuttle Program and the 31st station mission..
The STS-129 crew was led by commander Charlie Hobaugh and piloted by Barry Wilmore. NASA astronauts Robert Satcher, Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik and Leland Melvin served as mission specialists. The crew added a seventh member upon their return home, NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, who had just concluded her three month stay on the Space Station.
The mission lasted 10 days with the shuttle traveling over four million miles and completing 171 orbits.
Look back at this historic mission with these three fun facts you might not have known about STS-129, the final shuttle mission to the ISS!
1. An STS-129 crew member’s daughter was born during the mission.
During his first spaceflight mission, Bresnik received the news that his baby girl had been born on Earth, just the second time an American astronaut has had a baby born while they were in space.
The astronaut, who had been conducting a spacewalk while his wife was in labor, received the exciting news of his daughter’s birth the next morning after he awoke.
He later called Mission Control to announce the birth of his daughter, Abigail Mae Bresnik, who was born on Nov. 21, 2009.
“We are sending a big thank you to all of the people who have supported NASA and us for this mission and our special occasion,” said Bresnik and his wife, in a NASA interview.
Watch the NASA video clip above to see how the crew celebrated the arrival of Bresnik’s baby girl during the STS-129 mission.
2. Amelia Earhart’s scarf and a silver medallion used for the official coin toss of Super Bowl XLIV were flown onboard Atlantis.
Did you know that Bresnik is related to one of Amelia Earhart’s personal photographers? Or that Melvin played for a short time in the NFL?
Perhaps it is less surprising then, that two of the items flown aboard Atlantis for the STS-129 mission, a scarf of Earhart’s and a Super Bowl coin, held special significance for these two astronauts.
According to NASA, the colorful scarf, which was given by the 99s Museum of Women Pilots was accompanied by a photograph of Earhart, obtained by Bresnik from the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.
The silver Super Bowl coin was flown in space prior to its big debut in the pre-game coin toss for Super Bowl XLIV. Along with the coin, the crew of STS-129 also flew a football with the names of all the Hall of Fame members inscribed, along with Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys jerseys (the two teams Melvin had previously played for).
3. Astronaut Nicole Stott’s return aboard Atlantis marked the final time a station crew member would travel to or from the ISS by shuttle.
This month the ISS is celebrating 20 years of continuous human presence onboard the orbital laboratory. Click here to learn more about the anniversary.