Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
NASA Announces Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Date
Following a detailed inspection of NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., the six-member crew has a new launch date to begin the STS-115 mission to the International Space Station. The lift-off from Kennedy is set for 12:29 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Sept. 6.
Shuttle managers decided on the launch date after assessing conditions at Kennedy following Tropical Depression Ernesto. The center's facilities and Atlantis, which sits on Launch Pad 39-B, sustained no damage during the storm.
If weather or other issues prevent Atlantis' launch on Sept. 6, opportunities are available on Sept. 7 and 8. All dates allow for completion of the mission's objectives and allow for shuttle undocking from the station by Sept. 17. This is necessary so the Russian Soyuz taking the next space station crew up to the orbiting laboratory can launch Sept. 18.
Many of the standard launch preparations were completed before the shuttle's partial move to the center's landmark Vehicle Assembly Building and return to the launch pad on Tuesday. During the next several days, teams will focus on completing pre-launch tasks, so an official countdown can begin Sunday at 8 a.m. EDT.
The STS-115 crew, Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson, and mission specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper and Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean, is in Houston conducting launch simulations. The astronauts will return to Kennedy on Saturday morning. They already have begun adjusting their sleep cycles to match their timeline in orbit that changed due to the new launch time.
During STS-115, Atlantis' astronauts will deliver and install the 17.5-ton, bus-sized P3/P4 integrated truss segment on the station. The girder-like truss includes a set of giant solar arrays, batteries and associated electronics. The P3/P4 truss segment will provide one-fourth of the total power-generation capability for the completed station.
For information about the STS-115 crew and mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
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