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John Yembrick
Headquarers, Washington

George Diller
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA Starts Space Shuttle Atlantis Countdown June 5
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA will start the launch countdown for Space Shuttle Atlantis' STS-117 mission at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 5, at the T-43 hour point. The countdown includes 27 hours, 32 minutes of built-in hold time leading to a preferred launch time at approximately 7:38 p.m. EDT Friday, June 8. The launch window extends an additional five minutes.

During the 11-day mission, Atlantis' crew will resume construction of the International Space Station, working with the station crew to install the girder-like S3/S4 truss segment, unfold a new set of solar arrays and retract one array on the starboard side of the station.

This mission is the 118th space shuttle flight, the 28th flight for Atlantis and the 21st U.S. flight to the International Space Station. STS-117 is scheduled to land at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on Tuesday, June 19.

Atlantis' last mission was STS-115 in September 2006. For the upcoming STS-117 mission, Atlantis rolled out to Launch Pad 39-A from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building on May 15. Atlantis originally was targeted for launch in March, but a hail storm damaged foam insulation on the shuttle's external fuel tank and forced managers to roll the spacecraft back into the Vehicle Assembly Building to make repairs. With the refurbishment of Pad 39-A, this launch will be the first from the pad in four years.

STS-117 Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and Mission Specialists Jim Reilly, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, John "Danny" Olivas and Clayton Anderson are scheduled to arrive at the Kennedy Space Center on June 4.

Expedition 15 Flight Engineer Sunita Williams will return to Earth from the space station aboard Atlantis. The flight will carry Expedition 15/16 Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson to the station. He will return home aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-120.

For more information about the STS-117 crew and mission to the space station, visit:



(All times Eastern)

Launch-3 Days (Tuesday, June 5)

Prepare for the start of the STS-117 launch countdown
Perform the call to stations (8:30 p.m.)
Countdown begins at the T-43 hour mark (9 p.m.)
Begin final vehicle and facility closeouts for launch
Check out backup flight systems

Launch-2 Days (Wednesday, June 6)

Review flight software stored in mass memory units and display systems
Load backup flight system software into Atlantis' general purpose computers
Remove flight-deck platforms (5 a.m.)
Complete preparation to load power reactant storage and distribution system (7 a.m.)
Activate and test navigational systems (10 a.m.)
Flight deck preliminary inspections complete (1 p.m.)

Enter first built-in hold at T-27 hours for duration of 4 hours (1 p.m.)

Clear launch pad of all non-essential personnel
Perform test of the vehicle's pyrotechnic initiator controllers

Resume countdown (5 p.m.)

Launch-1 Day (Thursday, June 7)

Enter 4-hour built-in hold at T-19 hours (1 a.m.)

Demate orbiter mid-body umbilical unit (1:30 a.m.)
Resume orbiter and ground support equipment closeouts
Begin operations to load cryogenic reactants into Atlantis' fuel cell storage tanks (3 a.m.)

Resume countdown (5 a.m.)

Final preparations of the shuttle's three main engines for main propellant tanking and flight (5 a.m.)
Begin filling pad sound suppression system water tank (7 a.m.)
Pad sound suppression system water tank filling complete (10 a.m.)
Close out the tail service masts on the mobile launcher platform
Begin star tracker functional checks (12:50 p.m.)

Enter planned hold at T-11 hours for 13 hours, 42 minutes (1 p.m.)

Activate orbiter's inertial measurement units
Activate the orbiter's communications systems
Install film in numerous cameras on the launch pad (2:25 p.m.)
Flight crew equipment late stow (6:40 p.m.)
Move Rotating Service Structure to the park position (10:30 p.m.)
Perform ascent switch list
Fuel cell flow-through purge complete

Launch Day (Friday, June 8)

Resume countdown at T-11 hours (2:42 a.m.)

Activate the orbiter's fuel cells (3:52 a.m.)
Clear the blast danger area of all non-essential personnel
Switch Atlantis' purge air to gaseous nitrogen (4:42 a.m.)

Enter planned 2-hour built-in hold at the T-6 hour mark (7:42 a.m.)

Launch team verifies no violations of launch commit criteria prior to cryogenic loading of the external tank
Clear pad of all personnel

Resume countdown (9:42 a.m.)

Chilldown of propellant transfer lines (9:42 a.m.)
Begin loading the external tank with about 500,000 gallons of cryogenic propellants (about 9:52 a.m.)
Complete filling the external tank with its flight load of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants (about 12:42 p.m.)
Final Inspection Team proceeds to launch pad

Enter planned 3-hour built-in hold at T-3 hours (12:42 p.m.)

Perform inertial measurement unit preflight calibration
Align Merritt Island Launch Area tracking antennas
Perform open loop test with Eastern Range

Resume countdown at T-3 hours (3:42 p.m.)

Crew departs Operations and Checkout Building for the pad (3:45 p.m.)
Complete closeout preparations in the White Room
Check cockpit switch configurations
Flight crew begins entry into the orbiter (about 4:15 p.m.)
Astronauts perform air-to-ground voice checks with Launch and Mission Control
Begin to close Atlantis' crew hatch (5:30 p.m.)
Begin Eastern Range final network open loop command checks
Perform hatch seal and cabin leak checks
Complete White Room closeout
Closeout crew moves to fallback area
Primary ascent guidance data is transferred to the backup flight system

Enter planned 10-minute hold at T-20 minutes (6:22 p.m.)

NASA test director conducts final launch team briefings
Complete inertial measurement unit preflight alignments

Resume countdown at T-20 minutes (6:32 p.m.)

Transition the orbiter's onboard computers to launch configuration
Start fuel cell thermal conditioning
Close orbiter cabin vent valves
Transition backup flight system to launch configuration

Enter estimated 46-minute hold at T-9 minutes (6:43 p.m.)

Launch director, Mission Management Team and NASA test director conduct final polls for "go/no go" to launch

Resume countdown at T-9 minutes (about 7:29 p.m.)

Start automatic ground launch sequencer (T-9 minutes)
Retract orbiter crew access arm (T-7:30)
Start mission recorders (T-6:15)
Start Auxiliary Power Units (T-5)
Arm solid rocket booster and external tank range safety safe and arm devices (T-5)
Start liquid oxygen drainback (T-4:55)
Start orbiter aerosurface profile test (T-3:55)
Start main engine gimbal profile test (T-3:30)
Pressurize liquid oxygen tank (T-2:55)
Begin retraction of the gaseous oxygen vent arm (T-2:55)
Fuel cells to internal reactants (T-2:35)
Pressurize liquid hydrogen tank (T-1:57)
Deactivate bi-pod heaters (T-1:52)
Deactivate solid rocket booster joint heaters (T-1)
Orbiter transfers from ground to internal power (T-0:50 seconds)
Ground Launch Sequencer go for auto sequence start (T-0:31 seconds)
Booster gimbal profile (T-0:21 seconds)
Ignition of three space shuttle main engines (T-6.6 seconds)
Booster ignition and liftoff (T-0)

Commander: Rick Sturckow
Pilot: Lee Archambault
Payload Commander (MS1): Patrick Forrester
Mission Specialist (MS2): Steven Swanson
Mission Specialist (MS3): John "Danny" Olivas
Mission Specialist (MS4): Jim Reilly
Mission Specialist (MS5): Clayton Anderson


Televised events (times may vary slightly)
All times Eastern

Friday, June 8
9:45 a.m.: Crew wakes up
1:30 p.m.: Television coverage from crew quarters
3:05 p.m.: Weather briefing
3:15 p.m.: Don flight suits
3:45 p.m.: Depart for launch pad
4:15 p.m.: Arrive at White Room and begin ingress
5:30 p.m.: Close crew hatch
7:38:00 p.m.: Launch

- end -

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