|STS-135 Crew: Sandy Magnus, Pilot Doug Hurley, Commander Chris Ferguson|
and Mission Specialist Rex Walheim. (Image credit: NASA TV)
Their T-38 jets touched down at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility at about 5:30 p.m. EDT. The crew will participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test and related training. The countdown full dress rehearsal is scheduled for Thursday morning.
Astronaut Sandy Magnus said "It’s going to be a challenging mission with only four of us but really the driver for that is the fact that our rescue scenario’s a little bit different than normal. Ever since Columbia, we’ve been mandated to have a shuttle on the pad ready to launch in case the crew has an issue with the orbiter and they need to be rescued. Because we are the last orbiter, there’s not an orbiter there waiting for us so our rescue scenario involves the Soyuz capsules which we’re flying to station via the Russians, and on the Soyuz capsules only one person can come down at a time. With a crew of four it takes a year to get everybody down and that was deemed to be enough. You don’t want to have six or seven people up there it would take close to two years to get everybody down".
Atlantis is being prepared for the STS-135 mission, the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, targeted for launch July 8.