Flight Day 7 of the STS-135 mission started out with a serenade for the crew of space shuttle Atlantis.
In a special message recorded before launch from Venice, Italy, Michael Stipe, lead singer of the band R.E.M., sang an A capella version of their song "Man on the Moon," followed by a greeting to the astronauts.
"Good morning, Atlantis," said Stipe. "This is Michael Stipe from R.E.M. We wish you much success on your mission, and thank all the women and men at NASA who have worked on shuttle for three decades. From Earth, a very good morning to you."
Stipe shared with NASA the story behind his wakeup call's recording:
"I recorded 'Man On The Moon' for NASA in Venice, Italy, where Galileo first presented to the Venician government his eight-power telescope, and in 1610 wrote 'The Starry Messenger' (Sidereus Nuncius), an account of his early astronomical discoveries that altered forever our view of our place in the universe," said Stipe.
More unpacking of the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module is on tap today for STS-135 commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley, and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. But they will also take some time out for a few special events.
Both the shuttle and station crews will have the opportunity to enjoy an "All-American Meal" and the public is invited to share in it, virtually.
Each day that the final space shuttle mission is in flight, collectSPACE plans to highlight milestones and events from the space shuttle's history that also occurred on the same day over the past three decades. "Today in Space Shuttle History" will also note "lasts" being set by the STS-135 mission.
STS-135 Flight Day 7, July 14
1936 Robert F. Overmyer, pilot of the first "operational" shuttle mission, STS-5, and commander of STS-51B, was born. Overmyer was chosen as a NASA astronaut in 1969 and served as deputy vehicle manager for Columbia before his first flight assignment.
1982 Shuttle Columbia begins its ferry flight back to Florida atop a modified Boeing 747 jetliner after landing in California following the STS-4 mission. For the first leg of its two stop flight, NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carries Columbia from Edwards Air Force Base to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.
1984 Space shuttle Discovery arrives back inside the Vehicle Assembly Building after its June 26 attempt to launch the STS-41D mission ended in a pad abort. Discovery will be demated from its solid rocket boosters and external tank, return to its processing facility to have its main engine No. 3 replaced and ultimately launches on August 30.
NASA on Thursday released the video captured by cameras mounted on each of space shuttle Atlantis' solid rocket boosters showing the launch of the orbiter on STS-135 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on July 8.
The video also shows the two boosters' separation and splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
Space shuttle Atlantis' crew, having retired for the day at 3:29 p.m. CDT, were unexpectedly awakened at 5:07 p.m. by a master alarm signaling that the computer controlling the shuttle's on-orbit operations had failed.
Working with the team on the ground at Mission Control in Houston, the crew transferred Atlantis' systems management from the failed General Purpose Computer No. 4 (GPC-4) to GPC-2.
"The shuttle has five general purpose computers," mission commentator Brandi Dean explained. "One of which is a designated back-up computer and the other four are used as primary computers. However, only two of the four are used during non-critical orbit times."
"One of those two is always used to run guidance, navigation and control functions and the other is used to run systems management," said Dean. "Systems management was on GPC-4 and again that failed, so the crew is moving that to GPC-2."
About 40 minutes later, flight controllers confirmed the computer transfer was successful and Atlantis was again in good shape.
"You all have done an absolutely fabulous job. We have polled the room, everyone is ready for you to go back to sleep," radioed capcom Shannon Lucid from Mission Control.
Their sleep period interrupted, the crew requested a late wake up call in the morning.
"If we can add a half hour to our wakeup time, I think that would be really nice," said commander Chris Ferguson.
"That is no problem," replied Lucid. "We'll wake you up 30 minutes later and I think we are ready to say goodnight to you once again."
The astronauts had been scheduled to begin Flight Day 8 at 11:29 p.m. CDT Thursday. They will now wake just before midnight.
The crew had their first scheduled off-duty time earlier this afternoon, but still managed to push forward on their cargo transfer work as well. They have now completed 70 percent of their planned unpacking and packing of the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module and have done the same amount for Atlantis' middeck payloads.