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Jessica Rye
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.

NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report
Note: NASA's Kennedy Space Center issues Space Shuttle Processing Status Reports periodically and is the source for information regarding processing activities associated with the vehicles and payloads. If you are a member of the media and would like further information, visit:

Mission: STS-116 - 20th International Space Station Flight (12A.1) - P5 Truss Segment
Vehicle: Discovery (OV-103)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3
Launch Date: No earlier than Dec. 7, 2006
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Polansky, Oefelein, Curbeam, Higginbotham, Patrick, Fuglesang and Williams
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

During Thursday's Program Requirements Control Board meeting, Space Shuttle Program managers discussed the self-imposed restriction to daylight launches of the first two missions following the Columbia accident. The Program agreed to evaluate daylight versus night launches on a mission by mission basis when requirements for highly desirable launch and ascent imagery are identified. The consensus was that restoring night launch capability of the shuttle does not impose additional risk to the safety of the vehicle and crew. It provides flexibility in scheduling missions to the International Space Station toward fulfilling the shuttle's mission to finish station construction within the remaining life of the shuttle fleet prior to the fleet's retirement in 2010. The current no earlier than launch date would have a launch time of 9:38 p.m.

Engineers reviewed the damage to orbiter Discovery's right-hand external tank door mechanism, which resulted during the process of reassembling the linkage following the changeout of the power drive unit. Replacement parts will be delivered to the bay today and are scheduled to be installed early next week. There is no impact to the overall processing schedule.

The STS-116 crew will be at Kennedy Space Center next week for the crew equipment interface test. A routine part of astronaut training and launch preparations, the test activities allow for equipment familiarization and inspection of the items and hardware that will be used during the mission.

In the Vehicle Assembly Building, solid rocket booster stacking is complete and technicians are working on final joint closeout. Program managers will hold the external tank and booster mate review on Oct. 10, followed by the mating on Oct. 13 of the external tank, designated ET-123, scheduled to fly with Discovery.

Mission: STS-117 - 21st International Space Station Flight (13A) - S3/S4 Truss Segment Solar Arrays
Vehicle: Atlantis (OV-104)
Location: Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 1
Launch Date: No earlier than Feb. 22, 2007
Launch Pad: 39B
Crew: Sturckow, Archambault, Reilly, Forrester, Swanson and Olivas
Inclination/Orbit Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

Technicians continue performing post-landing inspections on orbiter Atlantis and are about 85 percent complete with the review of the thermal protection system. During inspections, a 0.1-inch diameter impact was noted on Atlantis' right-hand payload bay door radiator. The damage has been preliminarily identified as caused by micrometeoroid orbital debris (MMOD), which passed through the radiator's face (outer) sheet, interior honeycomb structure and inner sheet. The MMOD did not impact the payload bay door itself. Ground operations personnel at Kennedy Space Center will repair the damage as soon as a plan is developed and approved, while ensuring the site is protected for analysis by orbital debris experts at Johnson Space Center.

This week, technicians performed the forward reaction control system functional test and checkout, with a similar test scheduled for the orbiter maneuvering system this weekend. On Oct. 1, technicians removed the three space shuttle main engines from the aft of the vehicle. Wing leading edge thermography on the reinforced carbon-carbon panels is complete and the chin panel, located under the nose cap, has been removed.

Endeavour (OV-105)

Endeavour remains powered down in Orbiter Processing Facility bay 2 and technicians continue preparing the vehicle for its first launch following an extensive modification period. Exhaust duct leak checks are complete on auxiliary power unit No. 1.

Work continues on the orbiter boom sensor system manipulator positioning mechanism. The mechanisms serve as the pedestals that hold the boom in place in the payload bay when it is not in use. The aft pedestal is installed for flight.