Headlines > News > NASA News Conference for STS-117: Launch Delayed

NASA News Conference for STS-117: Launch Delayed

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:18 pm
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Following a hail storm on February 26, 2007, NASA addressed the public in a news conference today.
A heavy hail storm passed Cape Canaveral in monday’s evening doing some damage to the STS-117 stack comprised of the Shuttle Atlantis, the two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) and the External Tank ET-117. Hail isn’t seldom at the Kennedy Space Center but this time the hail was extremely large.
Sensors recorded 27 hits on the Shuttle’s left wing and visual inspections discovered some damage to the external tank insulation and ice-frost ramps.

Due to the need of repairs the launch will be delayed until at least April 22, 2007. The next step will be the rollback of the Shuttle on the Mobile Launch Platform MLP to the Vertical Assembly Building VAB for further inspections on Sunday, March 4.
Repair will be required on the external tank as well as on about two dozen thermal protection tiles on the Shuttle’s left wing.

Damage to the External Tank
Damage to the External Tank: Photo NASA/KSC

NASA is confident that they can repair the damages at Kennedy Space Center but this will have to be confirmed after the inspection in the VAB after the rollback.
NASA is optimistic that the delay won’t have a major effect on their launch manifest and minor delays should be leveled out until the end of the year.

STS-117 is NASA’s first mission in 2007 to the International Space Station ISS. Its mission is to deliver the S3/S4 truss segment with a set of two new solar arrays. It will be the 21st shuttle flight to the ISS. Atlantis will be commanded by Lee Archambault with Frederick Sturckow as the pilot on his side. The demanding EVAs will be made by Mission Specialists James Reilly II, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson and John D. Olivas.

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