Preparing Atlantis For Flight

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Preparing Atlantis For Flight
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VOICE 1: You're listening to NASA Direct.

ANITA BARRETT: From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I'm Anita Barrett. Space Shuttle Atlantis is preparing for the launch of mission STS-117 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis' last flight was mission STS-115 in September.

Atlantis' flow director, Angie Brewer, oversees the orbiter's processing for the mission. Angie, thanks for joining us.

ANGIE BREWER: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

BARRETT: Angie, what are some of the most significant tasks the team must complete to turn the vehicle around from one mission to the next?

BREWER: Well, the most significant thing that we've found in the last few flows are the tile processing that we've had to do. We inspect all the tiles on the vehicle and we repair and replace any damaged or broken tiles. And that seems to take almost the whole flow to get through.

BARRETT: Were there any special challenges along the way in this flow?

BREWER: Yes. During reentry and after we got back on the ground, we noticed small damage on the nose cap, and that's an area that's very difficult to repair, and it took quite a long time to repair it. But we were able to, to do a field replacement, or repair, of that nose cap, and we got that completed a few weeks before we rolled out.

BARRETT: What is your role as flow director for Atlantis?

BREWER: I oversee the daily operations and processing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. We monitor all the schedules and all the tests that are going on in the Orbiter Processing Facility.

BARRETT: Tell us a little about Atlantis. What makes it different from Endeavour and Discovery?

BREWER: Well, this payload and the previous payload -- the P3/P4 truss on STS-115 and the S3/S4 truss on this one -- can only fly on Atlantis. It's, those are heavier payloads and so Atlantis is the only vehicle right now that can fly those heavy payloads.

BARRETT: Do you know the STS-117 crew?

BREWER: We met them once at, during the crew equipment interface test that they came out for during the Orbiter Processing Facility checkouts. They came in and, and walked the vehicle down and checked out all the equipment that they would be using on orbit, and they got to meet the team during that time.

BARRETT: What is it like for you and the team to see the orbiter roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building and then roll out to the launch pad?

BREWER: Well, watching it roll out of the Orbiter Processing Facility is a huge relief. We've been through a lot of processing during that time, and it's just nice to see her put back together and ready to fly again. And then, when she rolls out of the Vehicle Assembly Building, it's really nice to see. It's so majestic, rolling out with the tank and the booster all attached.

BARRETT: Angie, thanks for your insight, we appreciate it!

BREWER: Thank you.

BARRETT: From the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I'm Anita Barrett.

VOICE 1: You've been listening to NASA Direct.

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