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NASA Says June 8 Shuttle Launch Good To Go

Reflected in the water of the Banana River at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on Launch Pad 39A. Photo Credit: NASA/Ken Thornsley
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 31, 2007
NASA said Thursday that on June 8 it would attempt to launch the US shuttle Atlantis to the orbiting International Space Station, a mission that has been delayed since March due to fuel tank damage. "We're good to go," shuttle program director Wayne Hale told reporters after he met with top officials from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

He said the Atlantis was scheduled for blastoff June 8, at 2338 GMT from Kennedy Space Center at Florida's Cape Canaveral, barring technical mishaps or unfavorable weather conditions.

At the present time, a confident Hale said, "We have no show stopper ahead."

In case the June 8 launch date is missed, NASA has four days to try again. After June 12, a few days have to be set aside for the launch of a military satellite, since NASA and the Air Force share the Cape's radar tracking system.

Atlantis had been due to lift off in March, but was put back in its hangar after a freak hail storm on February 26 damaged the outer fuel tank that powers its launch.

The delay forced NASA to cut back its 2007 shuttle program from five to four launches, including another scheduled for Atlantis in December when it is due to take the European Space Agency's Columbus research laboratory to the ISS.

The shuttle Endeavour is due to launch on August 9 and the Discovery by October 20.

The Atlantis' June 8 mission aims to continue construction of the ISS. The agency forecasts 13 missions are needed to complete the orbiting laboratory by 2010, when all three NASA's shuttles are to be taken out of service.

During the last shuttle mission to the ISS in December, astronauts on the Discovery rewired the outpost's power system and continued building the station by installing a truss segment on its grid-like structure.

Traveling on the Atlantis will be an all-male crew of seven, who will arrive at Kennedy Space Center on June 4, a day before the countdown to launch begins.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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A Green Light For Atlantis To Launch June 8
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Jun 01, 2007
Following the Flight Readiness Review meetings on May 30 and 31 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA's senior managers have signed the Certification of Flight Readiness confirming that Space Shuttle Atlantis, her flight crew and payloads are fit to fly. Officials approved June 8 as the scheduled launch date for the STS-117 mission to the International Space Station.

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