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Shuttle ET Repairs Continue

Atlantis sits inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, while repair work continues on the external tank. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Mar 16, 2007
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.

Related Links
STS-117 Mission
Space Shuttle News at Space-Travel.Com
Shuttle at NASA
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Repairs Underway Of Hail Damaged Shuttle External Tank
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Mar 11, 2007
On Sunday, Atlantis rolled from Launch Pad 39A to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where employees spent the week positioning platforms around the shuttle to allow for inspections and repairs to hail-damaged areas. Inspections of the external tank are expected to be completed next week. Some foam sanding has begun in the nose cone area of the tank.







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