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Shuttle Atlantis To Hit Launchpad Next Week

The Atlantis mission is aimed at continuing construction of the ISS. The space agency forecasts 13 missions are needed to complete the work by 2010.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 11, 2007
The US space agency said Friday it would roll the space shuttle Atlantis to its launchpad on May 16, after a March launch was delayed by hail damage to the orbiter's external fuel tank. With repairs to the damage incurred during a severe Florida storm finally complete, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will hold a flight readiness review on May 30-31, and the shuttle could launch as early as June 8.

"The teams have done a phenomenal job of repairing this tank," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA space operations associate administrator.

"We've done a lot of extra reviews to make sure we didn't miss anything -- a lot of testing to make sure things were done right and they've done a great job."

John Chapman, manager of the external tank project, said the tank will have a speckled appearance but it will not affect performance or safety.

The storm swept the Cape Canaveral, Florida, area in February, pelting the shuttle with hail as it sat at a Kennedy Space Center launch pad, being prepared for a March 15 liftoff for a mission to the orbiting International Space Station (ISS).

The Atlantis mission is aimed at continuing construction of the ISS. The space agency forecasts 13 missions are needed to complete the work by 2010.

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

This will be the first shuttle mission this year. If the Atlantis mission goes ahead, the next launch, of the Endeavour, is planned for August 9 or shortly thereafter. Following that is to be the Discovery, to launch by October 20 at the earliest.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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No Launch Delay After Train With Shuttle Booster Derails In US
Washington (RIA Novosti) May 03, 2007
An accident in which a freight train carrying segments of the space shuttle's solid rocket boosters ran off the tracks in Alabama will not cause any delays in shuttle launches, U.S. space officials said. The train derailed after a recently repaired bridge collapsed over boggy ground Wednesday, NASA spokeswoman Katherine Trinidad said, adding that six people aboard were reported injured, one in critical condition.

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