STS-117 Mission Updates: Part 1

Shuttle DockingConfirmed
10 June 2007 3:38 p.m. EDT

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities.

-KerThan

 

ShuttleBackflips for ISS
10 June 2007 2:37 p.m. EDT

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities.

-KerThan

 

Shuttle Has Station inits Crosshairs
10 June 2007 2:20 p.m. EDT

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities.

-KerThan

 

Correction Burn Not Necessary
10 June 2007 1:28 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON -- Mission ground controllers have decided a manualcorrection burn for the shuttle is not necessary and that Atlantis is on coursefor its afternoon docking wih the ISS.

STS-117 commander Rick Sturckow has just checked in with ISS 15commander Fyodor Yurchikin in the first shuttle to station call.

"Hello Fyodor, its really good to hear your voice,"Sturckow said. "We'll be there shortly. Please tell Sunni we have Clay onboard ready to relieve her."

"Thank you very much, and Sunni's smiling,"Yurchikhin responded.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

-KerThan

Engine Burn Puts Atlantis En Route to ISS
10 June 2007 1:07 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON -- Atlantis has performed the 12-second TI engine burnthat puts it on course for an on-time docking with the International SpaceStation (ISS). Docking is set for 3:38 p.m. EDT (1938 GMT). About 1 hour beforeberthing, while Atlantis is about 600 feet below the station, the shuttle willperform a backflip called the Rendeavous Pitch Maneuver, or RPM, so thatastronauts aboard the station can take digital pictures of heat resistant tileson its underside. The images will be scanned by ground engineers to look forpotential damage incurred during ascent.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

-KerThan

Space Shuttle Atlantis Closes on ISS
9 June 2007 11:56 a.m. EDT

NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis is closing in on theInternational Space Station (ISS) in anticipation of today’s planned afternoondocking high above Earth.

Atlantis shuttle commander Rick Sturckow and pilot LeeArchambault have guided the spacecraft through a series of small engine firingsto hone the orbiter’s trajectory towards the ISS.

At 1:00 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT), the two aft-mounted rocket enginesof Atlantis’ Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) will again fire up for theTerminal Phase Initiation  - or TI - engine burn, which will put theshuttle on final approach to the orbital laboratory.

Today’s ISS docking is set for 3:38 p.m. EDT (1938 GMT).

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Atlantis Astronauts Prepare for Space Station Arrival
9 June 2007 9:20 a.m. EDT

The seven astronauts aboard NASA’s space shuttle Atlantisawoke Sunday on course to an afternoondocking at the International Space Station (ISS).

The STS-117 crew woke up at 9:08 a.m. EDT (1308 GMT) to thesound of  “Riding the Sky,” a song written and performed byNASA workers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The song was chosen forSTS-117 mission specialist Clayton Anderson, who is spending his last day as ashuttle crew member and will join the space station’s Expedition 15 crewafter docking.

“Good morning Houston, and thanks a lot for that musicfrom my beautiful wife Sue and my children Sutton and Cole,” Andersontold Mission Control. “We’re looking forward to a great day andseeing our friends on the station.”

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s dockingactivities.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Shuttle Crew Takes Closer Look at Torn Blanket
9 June 2007 7:52 p.m. EDT

Astronauts aboard NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis took acloser look at a torn thermal blanket to the orbiter’s portside.

The added survey will be tacked onto the end of today’sAtlantis heat shield inspection, and is expected to take about 30 minutes, NASAofficials said.

Atlantis astronaut Patrick Forrester and other crewmates willuse the shuttle’s sensor mounted orbital boom to take detailed images ofthe torn blanket, the damaged area of which measures about four inches and sitson the shuttle’s portside Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s heatshield inspection.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ launch. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,which is available by clicking here orusing the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

 

Atlantis' Portside Wing Inspected
9 June 2007 5:35 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON -- Atlantis' crew has finished inspecting the shuttle'snose cap. Next on tap for scrutiny by the orbiter boom sensor system, or OBSS,is heat shields along the leading edge of Atlantis' portside wing. Thatinspection will last approximately 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, on board the International Space Station, theExpedition 15 crew is preparing the orbital laboratory for the Atlantisastronauts' arrival Sunday afternoon.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s plannedheat shield inspection.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASATV, which is available by clicking hereor using the button at the left.

 

-KerThan

Atlantis Crew Completes Starboard Shuttle Wing Survey
9 June 2007 4:32 p.m. EDT

The astronaut crew ofNASA’s space shuttle Atlantis has completed their survey of theorbiter’s starboard side heat shield.

Atlantis’ sensor-tipped100-foot (30-meter) inspection arm (a combination of the orbiter’s50-foot (15-meter) robotic arm and an equal length boom at its end) will now beswung over the shuttle’s nose cap to scan heat shielding there.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s story on today’s heatshield inspection.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Shuttle Crew Scans Atlantis Heat Shield
9 June 2007 3:43 p.m. EDT

Astronauts aboard the spaceshuttle Atlantis are working through their inspection of their 100-tonspacecraft’s vital heat shield.

The crew is currently workingthrough procedures to survey the heat-resistant panels along the leading edgeof Atlantis’ starboard wing. The survey has reached the fourth of sevensections to inspect the reinforced carbon carbon (or RCC) panels the shield thewing edges from high temperatures during landing.

The inspection will move fromstarboard to Atlantis nosecap, before heading to the rest of theorbiter’s heat shield.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s story on today’s heatshield inspection.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Heat Shield Inspections Begin
9 June 2007 2:15 p.m. EDT

HOUSTON -- The STS-117 crew have unberthed an orbital boom sensorsystem and are setting up to begin inspections of thermal protection tiles onthe wings and nosecap of the shuttle, beginning with Atlantis' starboard side.The astronauts are also checking out systems in two spacesuits that will beused in the upcoming spacewalks.

The now standard heat shield inspections have been partlyautomated, and as a result the entire process is expected to take only aboutfive hours instead of the usual seven or eight, NASA has said. Lead missionspecialist at Forrester is commanding the robotic arm during the inspection.

Atlantis'launch from Kennedy Space Center Friday evening was praised by NASAofficials as being one of the cleanestliftoffs in recent memory. Only small shedding of foam from the extensivelyrepaired external fuel tank was observed, none of which seemed to strike the orbiter.However, the astronauts did spot a torn thermal blanket on one of the shuttle'stwo aft-mounted Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pods late Friday evening afterAtlantis reached orbit.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s plannedheat shield inspection.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-KerThan

Atlantis AstronautsBegin First Full Day in Space
9 June 2007 10:19 a.m. EDT

The STS-117 astronautsaboard NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis have begun their first full day inorbit, waking up at 10:08 a.m. EDT (1408 GMT) to the sound of country singerAaron Tippin’s “Big Boy Toys.”

The song was chosen for shuttlecommander Rick Sturckow by his family and relayed up by NASA’sMission Control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

“Good MorningHouston, we hear you loud and clear,” Sturckow said after the wake-upcall, a NASA spaceflight tradition. “Thanks to my wife Michelle and mykids for playing that song.”

Atlantis astronauts will scantheir shuttle’s heat shield for damage, check out spacesuits thatwill be used during their mission and prepare for a planned Sunday afternoondocking at the International Space Station. The STS-117 crew is hauling newtrusses, solar arrays and one new crewmember to the orbital laboratory duringtheir 11-day mission.

Today is Flight Day 2 ofAtlantis’ STS-117 mission, which began with a successfulFriday launch.

Click HEREfor SPACE.com’s full story on today’s plannedheat shield inspection.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ mission to the ISS. You are invitedto follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Atlantis AstronautsDiscard Shuttle Fuel Tank
8 June 2007 7:50 p.m. EDT

The STS-117 astronautsaboard the space shuttle Atlantis have discarded the 15-story external tankthat fed the orbiter’s nearly nine-minute launch into space.  

With that, Atlantis is nowin orbit. The upcoming tasks for the shuttle's STS-117 crew include opening theorbiter's shell-like payload bay doors.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ launch. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,which is available by clicking here orusing the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Atlantis' Engines ShutDown as Planned
8 June 2007 7:48 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.– The rocket engines boosting Atlantis and its external tank towardsorbit have shut down as planned about eight and a half minutes into flight.  

The milestone, known asMain Engine Cut-Off (MECO) The spacecraft is flying towards its intended orbit,with the next major task aimed at discarding the shuttle’s external tank. 

NASA is providinglive coverage of Atlantis’ launch. You are invited to follow the missionusing SPACE.com’s NASA TV,which is available by clicking here orusing the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Solid Rocket BoostersSeparate
8 June 2007 7:43 p.m. EDT

The twin solid rocketboosters assisting Atlantis’ launch into space have separated as plannedfrom the shuttle’s external tank.  

The reusable boostersseparate at about two minutes and five seconds after liftoff and fall backtoward the Atlantic Ocean, where they will splash down under parachutes and beretrieved by recovery ships. They are equipped with cameras to record theperformance of Atlantis’ external tank and any foam loss seen duringtoday’s ascent.  

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ launch. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,which is available by clicking here orusing the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

Shuttle Atlantis LiftsOff!
8 June 2007 7:38 p.m. EDT

The space shuttle Atlantishas cleared the launch tower and gaining altitude after lifting off at about7:38 p.m. EDT (2338 GMT).

Riding aboard Atlantis areSTS-117 commander Rick Sturckow, pilot Lee Archambault and mission specialistsPatrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, Danny Olivas, Jim Reilly II and ClaytonAnderson.

It should take Atlantisabout eight and one-half minutes to ferry its seven-astronaut crew into orbit.

NASA isproviding live coverage of Atlantis’ launch. You are invited to followthe mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,which is available by clicking here orusing the button at the left.

 

- Tariq Malik

 

 

ShuttleAtlantis ‘Go’ for Launch

8 June2007, 7:29 p.m. EDT

 

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Atlantis has been cleared for launch from Pad39-A at the Kennedy Space Center on its 11-day mission to the InternationalSpace Station. The countdown has just picked up following the planned T-9minute hold as final launch preparations are rushed to completion.

 

The missionmanagement team has been polled and all have reported back ‘Go forlaunch.’ The sevenSTS-117 astronauts, led by mission commander Rick Sturckow, are strapped intotheir seats, running through their pre-launch checklists and are closelymonitoring their spacecraft systems for their ascent to orbit. CommanderSturckow thanked the launch team for its “dedication and hardwork.”

Atlantis'launch time is now set for 7:38:04 p.m. EDT (2338:04 GMT), with a 5-minutelaunch window. No technical or vehicle issues are being worked at this time.

Weatherconditions are observed and forecast ‘Go’ on all fronts with noconstraints to launch, conditions at the primary Transatlantic Abort Landingsite remain within acceptable limits. The Eastern Range reports ‘Clearfor launch.’

 

Over thenext nine minutes, the Orbiter’s access arm will be retracted, thehydraulic power system (APU) started, the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tankspressurized, Discovery’s internal flight computers will take control ofthe countdown and a booster steering test will be conducted. The three spaceshuttle main engines will ignite at T-minus 6.6 seconds and the twin solidrockets boosters will light at T-minus zero resulting in liftoff.

 

At the timeof Atlantis’ launch, the International Space Station will be orbiting atan altitude of 220 nautical miles above the southern Indian Ocean, southwest ofAustralia.

 

- Roger Guillemette

 

OverseasWeather Clears, Atlantis Ready for Launch

8 June2007, 7:12 p.m. EDT

 

Weatherconditions at the Transatlantic Abort Landing site in Istres, France are nowboth observed and forecast ‘Green’ or acceptable to support anemergency landing, allowing mission managers to proceed with tonight’slaunch attempt of shuttle Atlantis.

 

Atlantis'launch time is now set for 7:38:04 p.m. EDT (2338:04 GMT), with a 5-minutelaunch window. No technical or vehicle issues are being worked at this time.

 

NASA is broadcasting today's launch activities LIVEon NASA TV. Click here to watchSPACE.com's video feed or click thebutton at the upper left of this page.

 

- Roger Guillemette

Weather 'No Go' at Emergency Shuttle Landing Sites

8 June 2007, 6:50 p.m. EDT

Aweather concern has developed overseas for today's planned launch of NASA'sspace shuttle Atlantis.

 

Bothof NASA's emergency landing strips -- one in Zargoza, Spain and the other in Istres, France - have poorweather conditions to support today's planned 7:38:04 p.m. EDT (2338:04 GMT)liftoff. Under NASA flight rules, at least one overseas landing site -- knownas a Trans-Atlantic Abort Site -- must be available in order to proceed withlaunch.

 

NASA is broadcasting today's launch activities LIVEon NASA TV. Click here to watchSPACE.com's video feed or click thebutton at the upper left of this page.

- Tariq Malik

ShuttleAtlantis Ready for Launch

8 June2007, 6:38 p.m. EDT

 

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Atlantis is just an hour away from liftoff on aplanned 11-day mission to the International Space Station. The countdown clockis ticking down toward the T-9 minute mark – the final planned, built-inhold remaining in the countdown.

 

Atlantis'launch time has been adjusted slightly to 7:38:04 p.m. EDT (2338:04 GMT), witha 5-minute launch window– this final adjustment will more precisely align with the InternationalSpace Station's orbit.

 

The sevenSTS-117 astronauts, led by veteran mission commander Rick Sturckow, arestrapped into their seats, running through their pre-launch checklists and areclosely monitoring their spacecraft systems in preparation for their ascent toorbit. The close-out crew is now breaking down the ‘White Room’surrounding the spacecraft hatch and will soon depart the launch pad.

 

No technicalissues are being worked at this time. Mission managers are polling members ofthe launch team to ensure that all is in readiness with Atlantis and crew,poised for launch from the Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39-A.

 

AstronautsSteve Lindsey and Mark Polansky are piloting the Shuttle Training Aircraft,flying practice approaches to the Shuttle Landing Facility to confirmvisibility conditions as well observing cloud formations to the south and eastof Cape Canaveral.Weather forecasts remain positive, with an 80 percent chance of acceptableconditions predicted for launch time and generally favorable conditions at theprimary and backup Transatlantic Abort Landing sites in Zaragoza, Spain and Istres,France.

 

Distinguishedguests in attendance for today’s launch attempt include Florida GovernorCharlie Crist, U.S. Senator (and space shuttle veteran) Bill Nelson and authorLucy Hawking – daughter of Stephen Hawking.

 

NASA isbroadcasting today's launch activities LIVEon NASA TV. Click here to watchSPACE.com's video feed or click thebutton at the upper left of this page.

 

 

- Roger Guillemette

 

 

Atlantis’Hatch Closed for Launch

8 June2007, 5:43 p.m. EDT

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – Shuttle Atlantis’ hatch has been closed, the sevenSTS-117 astronauts are now strapped into their seats and final preparations areprogressing for this evening’s launch attempt from Kennedy SpaceCenter’s Launch Pad 39-A.

 

Missioncommander Rick Sturckow, pilot Lee Archambault and crew have just completed aseries of communications checks to ensure that the astronauts can talk toflight controllers and each other during the spacecraft’s ascent toorbit.

 

Atlantis'launch time is set for 7:38:02 p.m. EDT (2338:02 GMT), with a 5-minute launchwindow – a finaladjustment of the launch time may be made at the T-9 minute hold to moreprecisely align with the International Space Station's orbit.

 

Weatherforecasts remain positive, with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditionspredicted for launch time. Conditions are also favorable at the primary andbackup Transatlantic Abort Landing sites in Zaragoza, Spain and Istres, France.

 

Theshuttle’s external tank is filled with a half-million gallons ofsuper-chilled liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The vehicle is in "stablereplenish" mode and its massive fuel tank will continue to be topped-offuntil launch time.

 

The launchteam is not working any technical or vehicle issues at this time. The two SolidRocket Booster recovery ships have reported on-station, about 140 miles off theFlorida coast, and are reporting 2-3 foot seas in the recovery area.

 

Today’slaunch attempt is the 65th in shuttle history from Pad 39-A –the last launch from this pad was Shuttle Columbia on Jan. 16, 2003.

 

NASA isbroadcasting today's launch activities LIVEon NASA TV. Click here to watchSPACE.com's video feed or click thebutton at the upper left of this page.

 

 

- Roger Guillemette

 

 

 

AtlantisCrew Enters Spacecraft

8 June2007, 4:33 p.m. EDT

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla. – The seven-astronaut crew of Shuttle Atlantis areboarding their spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A.

 

Led byveteran shuttle commander Rick Sturckow, one-by-one the astronauts are beingpositioned in their seats on Atlantis’ flight and mid-decks inpreparation for their ascent to orbit.

 

The launch teamis not working any technical or vehicle issues at this time and weatherforecasts are favorable, with an 80 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

 

Atlantis'launch time is set for 7:38:02 p.m. EDT (2338:02 GMT), with a 5-minute launchwindow.

 

 

- Roger Guillemette

 

 

AtlantisAstronauts Head to Launch Pad
8 June 2007, 3:47 p.m. EDT

 

CAPECANAVERAL, Fla.-- Clad in their orange launch and entry spacesuits, the sevenAtlantis astronauts have begun a 20-minute ride in their silver 'Astro Van'toward Kennedy Space Center's Pad 39A where their spacecraft stands poised forlaunch. NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding has given his permission for theastronauts to enter the spacecraft, indicating that all switches and systems inthe cockpit are properly configured for the crew.

 

STS-117commander Rick Sturckow and pilot Lee Archambault have been briefed on thelaunch weather forecast; meteorologists are still predicting an 80 percentprobability of acceptable conditions at launch time. Rain showers and low cloudsthat lingered over the Cape Canaveral area and just offshore over the Atlanticare now breaking up with the onset of the afternoon sea breeze.  

 

The FinalInspection Team has departed the launch pad and will make their report tomission managers; however, the launch team is currently not working any vehicleor technical issues. 

 

Thecountdown has just resumed at the T-minus 3 hour mark and Atlantis' externaltank is now filled with a half-million gallons of super-chilled liquid hydrogenand liquid oxygen. The vehicle is in "stable replenish" mode and themassive fuel tank will continue to be topped-off until launch time.

 

Atlantis'launch time is set for 7:38:02 p.m. EDT (2338:02 GMT), with a 5-minute launchwindow.

-   Roger Guillemette

 Shuttle Crew Suiting Up
8 June 2007 3:20 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The seven-member STS-117 crew issuiting up into their orange flightsuits and will shortly make their way to pad39A, where they will strap into their seats aboard Atlantis.

Commander Rick Sturckow will sit in front left-seat of theshuttle cockpit. On his right will be pilot Lee Archambault. Behind them willbe missions specialists Steve Swanson and Patrick Forrester. Seated in theshuttle mid-deck from left to right are mission specialists Danny Olivias, ClayAnderson, and James Reilly, respectively.

-KerThan

Final Inspection Team at Shuttle Launch Pad
8 June 2007 2:13 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The shuttle final inspection teamis on Pad 39A and doing a walkthrough to check the integrity of the thermalinsulation, look for possible ice or frost buildup on the external fuel tank,particularly around areas that were repaired after haildamage in late February. The team has been instructed to inspect a hangingbracket on the mobile launcher platform to see if it poses any threat of comingloose during launch.

The weather forecasts remains the same, with an 80 percentchance that launch will occur as scheduled.

-KerThan

Astronauts Sit Down for Preflight Meal
8 June 2007 1:49 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The seven STS-117 astronauts aresitting down for their traditional preflight meal. They will pose for photosand participate in launch related briefings before suiting up and heading outto the launch pad at 3:47 pm EDT.

The countdown for tonight’s planned launch of Atlantishas entered into a T-3 hour hold that is expected to last for three hours.Weather is still 80 percent ‘Go’ for a 7:38 pm EDT (2338 GMT)liftoff tonight. Storm clouds off the coast of Florida are heading towardsKennedy Space Center, but are expected to be blown inland before launch.

 

-KerThan

Space Shuttle Atlantis Fueled for Launch
8 June 2007 1:04 p.m. EDT

The space shuttle Atlantis is fueled for launch as thecountdown continues towards a planned 7:38p.m. EDT (2338 GMT) liftoff today.

Shuttle workerscompleted fueling Atlantis' 15-story external tank with more than 500,000gallons of propellant at 12:57 p.m. EDT (1657 GMT). Efforts to load the tankwith its cryogenic liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen fuel began at 9:55 a.m.EDT (1355 GMT) today.

Atlantis' seven-astronaut crew is set to haul a pair of massivetrusses and two new solar arrays to the InternationalSpace Station on NASA's STS-117 mission. The spaceflight will also featurea one-astronaut crew swap for the station's Expedition 15 mission.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned space shot.

-- Tariq Malik

Space Shuttle Fueling Underway
8 June 2007 11:27 a.m. EDT

NASA engineers are fueling the space shuttle Atlantis' 15-storyexternal tank in preparation for today's7:38 p.m. EDT (2338 GMT) launch to the International Space Station.

The three-hour fueling process began at about 9:55 a.m. EDT(1355 GMT).

Known as 'tanking,' the fueling activity will fill theshuttle's foam-covered external tank with the some 500,000 gallons ofsuper-chilled liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen that will feed Atlantis' threemain engines during the nearly nine-minute launch to orbit.

Atlantis' seven-astronaut crew is set to haul a pair of massivetrusses and two new solar arrays to the InternationalSpace Station on NASA's STS-117 mission. The spaceflight will also featurea one-astronaut crew swap for the station's Expedition 15 mission.

Clickhere for SPACE.com's preview of today's planned space shot.

-- Tariq Malik

Atlantis to be Fueled for Launch
8 June 2007 9:26 a.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Atlantis' external fuel tank isscheduled to be pumped with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant at9:40 am EDT (1340 GMT) for tonight's planned launch. Weather forecasters stillpredict a favorable '80' percent chance for tonight's launch taking place ontime.

Atlantis is set to lift off at 7:38 pm EDT (2338 GMT) tonight.The Rotation Service Structure (RSS) that protects Atlantis was retracted lastnight in preperation for launch.

-KerThan

Launch-Day Weather Improves
7 June 2007 12:05 p.m. EDT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The weather forecast for Friday’sshuttle launch has been upgraded to 80 percent ‘Go.’ Forecasterspredict thunderstorms around Kennedy Space Center in the hours leading up tolaunch, but expect the clouds to move inland by launch time at 7:38 pm EDT(2338 GMT). For the full story, clickhere.

The first of four scheduled countdown holds will begin at 1 pmEDT (1700 GMT) today, during which the orbiter’s fuel cell storage tankswill be loaded.

-KerThan

LaunchPreparations on Track for Shuttle Atlantis
6 June2007 10:56 a.m. EDT

Launch preparations for NASA's space shuttle Atlantis are ontrack for a planned Friday liftoff from Florida's Kennedy Space Center (KSC),mission managers said Wednesday.

"We arenot tracking any significant issues at all in the launch countdown," NASAtest director Jeff Spaulding said during a mission update at KSC in CapeCanaveral. "Our vehicle and systems are in great shape."

Shuttleworkers are expected to begin loading Atlantis with the cryogenic liquid oxygenand hydrogen to power the shuttle's three fuel cells during its upcomingmission.

Commanded by veteranspaceflyer Rick Sturckow, Atlantis' seven-astronaut crew is gearing up fora planned 7:38 p.m. EDT (2338 GMT) launch on June 8. The shuttle's 11-daySTS-117 mission will haul two new starboard solar arrays and a pair of17.5-ton trusses to the InternationalSpace Station to continue assembly of the orbital laboratory.

There is a 30percent chance that afternoonthunderstorms will prohibit Atlantis' launch, though conditions areexpected to worsen over time. Weather conditions on Saturday and Sunday areexpected to pose a 40 percent chance of unacceptable launch conditions, missionmanagers said.

"Ourlaunch day weather actually looks like the best day," Kathy Winters,NASA's shuttle weather officer, said in the briefing.

Atlantis'STS-117 mission is the first of four NASA shuttle flights planned for 2007.NASA's flight window for the ISS-bound mission extends through mid-July.

-- Tariq Malik

AtlantisLaunch Countdown Begins

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.