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US Shuttle Atlantis Back On Launch Pad

Space Shuttle Atlantis, mounted on a mobile launch platform, rests on the hard stand of Launch Pad 39A after an early morning rollout. Photo credit: NASA/Troy Cryder
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 15, 2007
The US shuttle Atlantis was back on its launch pad Tuesday preparing to blast off in June to the International Space Station after damage to a fuel tank delayed its launch, space agency NASA said. The shuttle had been due to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern state of Florida in March, but was put back in its hangar after a freak hail storm damaged the outer fuel tank that powers its launch.

On Tuesday morning it was wheeled out again, along with its repaired tank and two rocket boosters and taken to one of the center's launch pads.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said the date for its launch to the station (ISS) would be decided at the end of the month and would be no sooner than June 8.

The mission aims to continue construction of the ISS. The agency forecasts 13 missions are needed to complete the orbiting laboratory by 2010.

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

The agency plans a total of four launches this year, including another scheduled for Atlantis in December when it is due to take the European Space Agency's Columbus research laboratory to the station.

The shuttle Endeavour is due to launch on August 9 and the Discovery again by October 20. The probes are to be taken out of service by 2010.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Atlantis Is Go For Rollout
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) May 15, 2007
Good progress was made on the final repairs on Atlantis' external tank over the weekend. Space Program managers have decided to rollout the vehicle to Launch Pad 39A on Tuesday morning, with first motion scheduled for 4:00 a.m. EDT. After last week's rollout review meeting, NASA officials announced that repairs on the external tank on Space Shuttle Atlantis have been completed.

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