Space Shuttle Atlantis Launching June 8


Nasa, Washington, DC (rushprnews) June 8, 2007- At this morning’s Countdown Status Briefing, NASA Test Director Steve Payne reported that after many months of hard work Atlantis is ready to launch. External tank inspections are in process and there are no issues being tracked.

Upon completion of all checks and inspections the access platforms will be retracted. The xenon lights will be lit, brightly illuminating the space shuttle, which can be seen from miles away.

At Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility, Mission STS-117 Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault are ready to begin practice flights in the shuttle training aircraft. In flight, the aircraft duplicates the unpowered orbiter's descent for landing on a runway. Photo credit: NASA/KSC“We’re ready to fly tomorrow,” said Payne.

Roy Worthy, external tank and solid rocket booster vehicle manager, described the multitude of repairs performed on the external tank and thanked the hundreds of workers who labored days on end to complete the task.

STS-117 Payload Manager, Robbie Ashley, reported that the payload was loaded into the orbiter’s payload bay this week and everything is ready and secured for launch.

Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer said there is now only a 20-percent chance that weather would affect the launch. A high pressure ridge has entered the area and although the typical Florida afternoon storms may develop, they should be west of Kennedy Space Center and not an issue at launch time.

The forecast for tomorrow morning is for light winds and a zero percent chance of weather prohibiting the loading of propellants into the external tank.

Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault have been practicing landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and the entire crew is making final preparations for tomorrow’s liftoff.

Transfer of the hydrogen and oxygen reactants were completed this morning. These reactants will be used by Atlantis to generate power during the mission. The umbilical unit was secured once the loading was accomplished.

The launch pad’s rotating service structure is scheduled to roll away from Atlantis at 10:30 p.m. tonight. When in place, the giant revolving enclosure is used to install payloads into the orbiter’s cargo bay and provide protection from inclement weather.

On Friday, launch day, propellant loading is set to begin at about 9:30 a.m., with the pumping of more than 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and hydrogen into the vehicle’s orange external tank.

NASA TV coverage of the launch and live launch countdown coverage from NASA’s Launch Blog will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT Friday.
+ Launch Blog

Launch + 1 hour – Post-launch News Conference
– Rex Geveden, NASA associate administrator
– Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations
– John Shannon, chairman, Mission Management Team
– Mike Leinbach, NASA launch director

STS-117 Mission
+ The Crew
+ The Mission
+ The Integrated Truss Structure

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Anne Howard writer and publicist

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