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Shuttle Atlantis Being Readied For August Launch

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the keep-em-comin dept.

34

DarkNemesis618 writes "The Space Shuttle Atlantis was moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building today to begin the mating process to it's external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters. Atlantis is scheduled to launch either August 27th or 28th, being only the 3rd launch since the Columbia tragedy in 2003. Atlantis is set to resume construction of the International Space Station by bringing up the second set of massive solar arrays needed for the laboratory modules that are to be added later on in the station's construction. Once the flight review is completed (Aug. 16), an exact date will be set for launch. Pending any problems, rollout to the launchpad is scheduled for July 31st."

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34 comments

frost pist?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15774021)

I fail it!

Re:frost pist?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15774119)

You failed to fail it. That makes you a double failure.

Planned repairs. (-1, Troll)

cataclyst (849310) | about 8 years ago | (#15774075)

Hope this one isn't going to need mid-mission repairs. Anyone else noticed that the last shuttle needed to undergo those heat-tiling/insulation related repairs after all the engineering $$$s were spent to make sure such a thing didn't happen?

Or did we only notice the problem because of the additional safeguards put in place since the last 'incident' ?

Re:Planned repairs. (1)

DSP_Geek (532090) | about 8 years ago | (#15774749)

Do what? The "fixes" were actually on site tests of repair kits to make sure they'd work in space.

atlantis (1)

eobanb (823187) | about 8 years ago | (#15774101)

Engage the cloak, or the Wraith hive ships will come!

Re:atlantis (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 8 years ago | (#15777462)

And if the hiveships do come, engage the shields. And the drones.

And a very August launch it will be (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 8 years ago | (#15774111)

As are all launches of such a grand vehicle.

Re:And a very August launch it will be (1)

flynns (639641) | about 8 years ago | (#15774116)

Ba-dmp-crash.

Try the veal.

oooh... Shiney (1)

koterica (981373) | about 8 years ago | (#15774133)

Well, they will finally get those new solar panels installed. Now the crew wont have to draw straws to decide who gets to pick the game system for the "night".

What about Endeavour? (1)

ArnoldLayne (210626) | about 8 years ago | (#15774160)

Any hints on why they don't seem to use Endeavour anymore?
I thought, Endeavour is their newest and hence most modern craft.

Re:What about Endeavour? (2, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 8 years ago | (#15774175)

NASA's still working on it. [nasa.gov]

Re:What about Endeavour? (1)

p33p3r (918997) | about 8 years ago | (#15779688)

Are you sure it's not flying out of Vandenberg for classified missions?

Re:What about Endeavour? (4, Informative)

Radius9 (588130) | about 8 years ago | (#15774188)

According to NASA, it has been on a 24 month orbiter maintenance/upgrade since 2003, and should be ready to fly sometime later this year. Here's the link to the info on NASA's page: Space Shuttle Endeavour [nasa.gov] .

Re:What about Endeavour? (1)

DarkNemesis618 (908703) | about 8 years ago | (#15776214)

It's return to flight is scheduled for STS-118 on June 11, 2007

Re:What about Endeavour? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | about 8 years ago | (#15781234)

According to NASA, it has been on a 24 month orbiter maintenance/upgrade since 2003


I hear that. I'm still on my July 1/July 4 long weekend.

- RG>

P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (4, Interesting)

Aglassis (10161) | about 8 years ago | (#15774333)

This should be an interesting mission mostly due to the complicated spacewalk required to install the P3/P4 truss segment [wikipedia.org] and its associated solar arrays. Currently the P5 truss and its solar arrays are mounted on the Z1 truss. The P3/P4 truss segment and its solar arrays need to go in between. I'm not exactly sure how they plan to do this but I would assume they are going to temporarily move the P5 truss and solar arrays to some temporary mounting point (perhaps they will retract the solar arrays if that is possible). Then they will install the P3/P4 truss and reinstall the P5 truss outboard (and extend the solar arrays).

Since the station has always had power from the P5 truss while it has been inhabited it will have to depend on temporary power from another source (such as the solar arrays on the Zvezda service module or the Zarya control module). This may add additional time constraints in this spacewalk. For fans of spacewalks this will be a blast! It will definitely be one of the most complicated spacewalks ever performed.

If you aren't a fan of spacewalks and complicated juggling tricks in space, this might be a boring mission for you.

Re:P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (2, Informative)

Aglassis (10161) | about 8 years ago | (#15774347)

Correction: by P5 truss I meant P6 truss and associated arrays. The P5 truss segment will be in between the P6 and the P3/P4 truss.

Re:P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (1)

RedWizzard (192002) | about 8 years ago | (#15774403)

According to this [nasa.gov] , the P3/P4 truss will be attached to the P1 truss on this mission. I don't think they are going to move the P6 truss from it's current temporary location at this time.

Re:P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (3, Informative)

Geezle2 (541502) | about 8 years ago | (#15774421)

I think you are refering to the P6 truss, which was "temporarily" attached to the Z1 truss. It is staying put for now. [nasa.gov]

They will, of course, hold off on relocating the P6 truss until after the P5 truss is installed, which isn't until STS116 (not yet scheduled). [nasa.gov]

Not as exciting as you were hoping for, perhaps, but at least they are hauling more big pieces up again. They will have enough power now for the European or the Japanese lab modules, though those are not going up until after the first set of PV arrays goes up for the starboard side. . .maybe by next summer if NASA can keep the shuttles from falling apart until then.

Re:P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 years ago | (#15774602)

it will definitely be one of the most complicated spacewalks ever performed.

You may be right, but people tend to forget the apollo lunar surface EVAs when they say that.

Re:P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | about 8 years ago | (#15776593)

I'd argue that the lunar EVAs weren't "spacewalks", but rather "moonwalks" (and "moondrives" :-P).

Disclaimer: I watched the Apollo 11 landing live.

Re:P3/P4 Truss and Solar Arrays (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 years ago | (#15782930)

I watched the Apollo 11 landing live

So did I, but I can't remember it (damn)

Spacex vs. the shuttle (1, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15774360)

As happy as I am to see the shuttle flying, I wonder if NASA can not use spaceX's falcon 9 to speed things up; It holds 2x the cargo of the shuttle at a 1/10 of the cost. It would be nice to put up a double load.

Somewhere down the road, America needs to develop an automated system similar to progress.

Re:Spacex vs. the shuttle (3, Interesting)

Geezle2 (541502) | about 8 years ago | (#15774489)

One possible reason is that the Falcon 9 has never flown at all, much less in its maximum lift configuration. Even in this maximum lift configuration, it will only boost an extra ton into LEO over the Shuttle. I agree that the US's reliance on shuttle is the most braindead decision ever made in the US space program (would have saved tons of money and lives sticking with the Saturn V), but it is unfortunately the only thing flying right now that can do the job with the exception, perhaps, of Russia's Proton booster.

As an aside, NASA should threaten to subcontract out the remaining heavy lift operations to Russia and make a real big deal about it in the media. . .I'll bet that would free up funding for them to replace the shuttles with some real lift infrastructure!

Re:Spacex vs. the shuttle (2, Informative)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | about 8 years ago | (#15774605)

Somewhere down the road, America needs to develop an automated system similar to progress.

Europe will have one very soon. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Spacex vs. the shuttle (1)

Geezle2 (541502) | about 8 years ago | (#15774712)

As will Japan. [www.jaxa.jp]

Anyone getting the feeling that our (US) partners are starting to doubt our willingness, or far worse, our ability to deliver the lunch? That makes three independant mechanisms for supplying the ISS. I'm starting to think that maybe they just don't trust us (US) anymore. . .

Not really about the US. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15775125)

Getting 2 crafts together is always tricky. In fact, EU's ATV will go through several trips to attempt this and make sure. With this automation, it allows EU to participate in space without having to worry about directly putting ppl into space.
The interesting, and far more difficult, automation is what DARPA did recently. That was trying to hoover around a craft without running into it. That will allow for a number of interesting capablities. The most useful (in terms of civil use) is true robotic assmebling of crafts.

Re:Not really about the US. (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | about 8 years ago | (#15780651)

I guess the vacuum of space would be the best place to hoover...

Re:Spacex vs. the shuttle (1)

Colonel Blimp (642760) | about 8 years ago | (#15778075)

Spacex has one 30 second failed launch under its belt, and is starting to look a bit dodgy with the lack of communication. I wouldn't consider any company that has yet to even launch a small rocket as a competitor.

Re:Spacex vs. the shuttle (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#15779612)

They will likely launch in another 6 months. I was not thinking of them as a competitor to the shuttle but more of an ancillary. It would be nice to be able to send up several payloads at once (one on the shuttle and another on another launcher such as Spacex) and let a team put it together.

Re:Spacex vs. the shuttle (1)

DarkNemesis618 (908703) | about 8 years ago | (#15786308)

Carrying up supplies is one thing, carrying up the full parts for the station is another. Currently only the shuttle itself has that capability.

I miss the good old days (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 8 years ago | (#15774877)

When anything Nasa did involved non stop TV all day, analysis in the studio, days off school to watch grainy B&W images of astronauts and a feeling of breathless excitement at the sheer awesomeness of the event.
These days it's a comment at the end of the news that something launched and everyone shrugs and mumbles 'so what'. A pity. We've totally lost sight of just what mankind has achieved in space.
Obviously it will eventually become normal stuff, it has to otherwise we'd all wet ourselves everytime a car drove by but right now it is still dangerous, the people that work on it are wonderful brave individuals and we should keep our side of the deal by yelling "yeah!" when it all goes to plan.

Re:I miss the good old days (1)

3waygeek (58990) | about 8 years ago | (#15775141)

Those days are back, sort of. HDNet has a contract with NASA to cover all launches through 2010. They did non-stop coverage of the recent Discovery launch and its return.

HDNet has provided NASA with a number of HD cameras, not just for TV coverage, but to assist in the inspection of the shuttle for foam damage. A shuttle launch in 1080i is quite a sight -- I spent most of the July 4th weekend watching the HDNet coverage (remember there were 2 scrubs before the actual launch on the 4th). Missed the return, though -- had to work to make the money to pay the cable bill.

A Little Disappointing (1)

lbmouse (473316) | about 8 years ago | (#15775815)

When I was a young kid (in the shadow of the Apollo mission days), I'd hoped that manned space flights would have become so routine by the 21st century that they wouldn't even make the news. They would garner as much attention as a plane taking off at the local airport. ...plus, I'd be living on the moon by now with my female android wife. Strike 3.
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