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Atlantis Completes Mission, Undocks from Station.
July 23, 2001
Atlantis Completes Mission, Undocks from Station
Solar Sail Missing After Failed Launch
Atlas Launches GOES-M Satellite
ATLANTIS COMPLETES MISSION, UNDOCKS FROM STATION
The Space Shuttle Atlantis is on its way back to Earth now that its mission to install a new $164 million airlock to the International Space Station has been completed. The five shuttle and three station astronauts bid farewell to each other on Sunday, and Atlantis undocked at 0454 GMT (12:54am EDT). It is expected to land at Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, weather permitting.
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SOLAR SAIL MISSING AFTER FAILED LAUNCH
A malfunctioning computer appears to have caused the failure for the launch of the Planetary Society's prototype solar sail. Although the converted intercontinental ballistic missile launched correctly, the command to separate the solar sail wasn't executed, and was destroyed when it re-entered the atmosphere somewhere in the Kamchatka peninsula. Had it worked properly, they would have tested how a solar sail would unfurl in space. Even with the failure, the Society is still planning to launch a full solar sail spacecraft later this year.
ATLAS LAUNCHES GOES-M SATELLITE
After a 24-hour delay because of a lightning strike on a nearby launch pad, an Atlas 2A rocket successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral this morning, carrying a GOES-M weather satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Once it reaches geosynchronous orbit, the satellite will monitor the Earth's weather, as well as monitor the Sun's X-ray output.
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