106th Rescue Wing Supports the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher S. Muncy
  • 106 RQW
      The space shuttle Atlantis left Launch Pad 39A at 2:20 Eastern Time, likely leaving the Kennedy Space Center under its own power for the last time as the space shuttle program winds down. The current mission, STS-132, will carry a crew of six veteran astronauts, critical equipment, spare parts, and a Russian research module to the International Space station.
     The 106th Rescue Wing supported the Friday launch with Guardian Angels and Combat Rescue Officers from the 103rd Rescue Squadron, as well as aircrew from the 101st and 102nd Rescue Squadron. The Guardian Angels and CRO's remained on standby in the event of an in-flight shuttle emergency, working alongside rescue personnel from the United States Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, as well as NASA and other Air Force rescue units.
     Airmen from the 101st and 102nd Rescue Squadrons remained aloft during the flight, orbiting the area in an HC-130 and HH-60, both containing rescue personnel and equipment.
     STS-132 is manned by an all-veteran crew of astronauts, and is scheduled to spend more than a week at the International Space Station, performing various maintenance related tasks, to include changing out several of the station's batteries and installing the Rasvett Mini-Research Module.
     Following this mission, Atlantis will be kept on standby as a rescue vehicle should either of the remaining two shuttle missions require it.

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