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Space Shuttle Atlantis Repairs Continue

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:44 am
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The Space Shuttle Atlantis is surrounded by service platforms in highbay 1 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. Technicians continue repairs on the external tank from the hail damage caused by a severe thunderstorm that passed through the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 area in late February.

During the Flight Readiness Review, NASA’s Space Shuttle Program managers unanimously decided to proceed with the STS-117 mission, pending the work to make necessary repairs to the damage.

A new target launch date has not been determined, but teams will focus on preparing Atlantis for liftoff in late April.

Mission STS-117 to the International Space Station will be scheduled sometime after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft returns from the station. The Soyuz is delivering new station crew members and returning others to Earth in late April. Adequate time is needed between the Soyuz undocking and the shuttle’s arrival to the station.

During the 11-day mission, the six-member crew will install a new truss segment, retract a set of solar arrays and unfold a new set on the starboard side of the station. Lessons learned from two previous missions will provide the astronauts with new techniques and tools to perform their duties.

Atlantis Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialists Jim Reilly, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson and John “Danny” Olivas will continue training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston as they await a new target launch date.

The STS-117 flight crew will return to Kennedy Space Center a few days before launch.

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