NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending June 8

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NASA TV's This Week @NASA, Week Ending June 8
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This Week at NASA …

The countdown continues for this evening's scheduled launch of space shuttle Atlantis from the Kennedy Space Center.

Mike Leinbach SOT: "All looks good. Countdown is going well. No issues to report and looking forward to an on-time launch."

Lift off from Launch Pad 39A is slated for 7:38 p.m. EDT. The STS-117 crew will deliver two truss segments and a pair of solar arrays to the International Space Station. The 11-day mission is commanded by Astronaut Rick Sturckow. Rounding out the 117 crew are Pilot Lee Archambault, Mission Specialists Jim Reilly, Steve Swanson, Patrick Forrester, Danny Olivas and Clay Anderson. Anderson will remain aboard the station, while astronaut Suni Williams returns home on Atlantis after six months in space.

A main engine computer upgrade developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center will fly on Atlantis during this mission. The Advanced Health Management System provides new monitoring and insight into the performance of critical components of the orbiter's primary engine. The improvement allows the shuttle’s main engine to shut down during launch if vibration levels exceed safe limits.

Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov completed the second of two spacewalks they conducted in the past eight days. The pair installed cable, additional debris panels and deployed a scientific experiment outside the International Space Station. The experiment, called Biorisk, looks at the effects of microorganisms on structural materials used in space.

For the second time in less than a year, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, the first probe to visit the planet Mercury in more than 30 years, has swung by Venus. MESSENGER is using Venus's gravitational pull to put it on target for a flyby of Mercury in January 2008.

NASA space technology is helping doctors prevent heart attacks and strokes. Software developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is being used to diagnose hardening of the arteries while the disease is still in its early stages. Initially developed in the 1960s to process pictures from space, the software has been adapted to a non-invasive ultrasound exam. Used to look at the carotid artery, it can detect specific blood vessel damage before life-threatening problems develop in patients.

And that's This Week at NASA!
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