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NASA Set Flight Readiness Review For STS-117

Mission STS-117 Commander Rick Sturckow gives thumbs up after he and Pilot Lee Archambault practice emergency egress procedures in a slidewire basket at the 195-foot level of the fixed service structure on Launch Pad 39A near the conclusion of the terminal countdown demonstration test. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Feb 27, 2007
NASA managers will hold the traditional Flight Readiness Review at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida Feb. 27-28 -- the next major milestone for mission STS-117. Before each mission, the review is conducted by top-level NASA officials, space shuttle program managers, engineers and contractors approximately two weeks prior to the opening of the launch window. They examine the readiness of the space shuttle, flight crew and payloads to determine if everything is set to proceed for launch.

The two-day assessment of preparations for the mission is designed to produce a number of key decisions about the assembly flight, including selection of an official launch date.

NASA officials will announce the results of the review which will be broadcast on NASA TV after the conclusion of the meeting.

The full launch dress rehearsal known as the terminal countdown demonstration test wrapped up last week at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Fla.

The prelaunch training ran the STS-117 mission astronauts through their paces as they practiced emergency evacuation procedures at the launch pad, checked out their flight gear, drove M-113 personnel carriers and attended safety and range briefings.

In addition, Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault took to the skies in their training jets to practice landing techniques, similar to landing the space shuttle.

The highlight of the training came on the last day when the flight crew was transported to Launch Pad 39A in NASA's silver "astrovan" and whisked up to the White Room. Technicians checked the crew's flight suits and helped them into the orbiter where they rehearsed a simulated launch countdown and main engine cutoff exercise.

The crew members left in T-38 jets from Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility for their trip back to Johnson Space Center in Houston.

They'll return to Kennedy a few days before the launch of mission STS-117 to the International Space Station, targeted for March 15.

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.

Commanding the 117 crew is Rick Sturckow, a veteran of two shuttle missions (STS-88, STS-105), while Lee Archambault will be making his first flight as the shuttle's pilot. Mission Specialists James Reilly (STS-89, STS-104) and Patrick Forrester (STS-105) will be returning to the station. Steven Swanson and John Olivas, both mission specialists, join the crew for their first flight into space.

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Atlantis Countdown Testing Begins
Cape Canaveral (UPI) Feb 21, 2007
The final countdown testing in preparation for the March 15 launch of space shuttle Atlantis began Wednesday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the flight crew of mission STS-117 will participate in the full launch dress rehearsal that continues through Friday.

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