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June 29, 2001

Kirsten Larson
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-0243)

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, FL
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: H01-133

Shuttle Atlantis to Launch July 12 on Milestone Flight to Deliver Station's New Doorway to Space

Space Shuttle Atlantis will launch July 12 to carry a new airlock to the International Space Station. The mission will bring the orbiting outpost an unprecedented degree of self-reliance, providing it with a new doorway to space for maintenance and construction.

Atlantis is scheduled for liftoff at 4:04 a.m. CDT July 12 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, FL, at the beginning of an approximately five-minute launch window. Atlantis' mission, designated STS-104, will be the fourth shuttle flight this year and the 10th shuttle mission dedicated to assembly of the International Space Station.

"This mission will be a milestone for both the station and shuttle as we complete a major phase of the station's assembly," Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore said. "A year ago, I said we would fly the most complex series of missions NASA has undertaken since landing on the moon -- now we're nearing completion of the first phase. The team has truly done an excellent job to get us here safely, successfully and on schedule."

Atlantis' mission includes three spacewalks to install and outfit the station's new Joint Airlock, including the first-ever outside spacewalk to originate from the station. Atlantis' crew will be commanded by Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Lindsey. Marine Corps Maj. Charlie Hobaugh will serve as pilot.

The crew also includes astronauts Mike Gernhardt, Janet Kavandi and Jim Reilly. Gernhardt and Reilly will perform the planned spacewalks, while Kavandi operates the shuttle's robotic arm. The mission will be the second shuttle to visit the station during the stay of the second station crew -- Commander Yuri Usachev and Flight Engineers Jim Voss and Susan Helms -- now in their fourth month aboard the complex.

Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center at 11:56 p.m. EDT July 22.


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