NASA Hopes to Move Up Shuttle Launch Dates

End in Sight: Final Space Shuttle Missions Slated
Space shuttle Discovery is purged - providing cool and humidified air conditioning to the payload bay and other cavities to remove any residual explosive or toxic fumes – while still on the runway. (Image credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

NASA wants to move uplaunch dates for its next two shuttle missions to ensure the second can be sentup before a window of opportunity closes in late November, officials saidTuesday.

But it is unlikely NASA canadvance the Oct. 8 launch of a HubbleSpace Telescope servicing mission more than a couple days.

And a proposed six-day movefor a Nov. 10 launch would put liftoff of an International Space Station supplyrun on the same day as the 2008 presidential election.

"Whether we get threedays or two days, anything obviously would help at the front end of thatwindow," NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said.

The sun angle on thestation between Nov. 25 and Dec. 17 will be such that the outpost would not beable to generate enough power, or dispel enough heat, to support a shuttle.

Consequently, missionsto the station cannot be launched during that period, and NASA prefers notto launch during the Christmas or New Year's holidays. That effectively meansNov. 24 would be the last day NASA could launch a station mission in 2008.

Expect launch datedecisions when shuttle managers meet Aug. 14.

Published under license from FLORIDA TODAY. Copyright ? 2001FLORIDA TODAY. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any way withoutthe written consent of FLORIDA TODAY.


Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Aerospace Journalist

Todd Halvoron is a veteran aerospace journalist based in Titusville, Florida who covered NASA and the U.S. space program for 27 years with Florida Today. His coverage for Florida Today also appeared in USA Today, and 80 other newspapers across the United States. Todd earned a bachelor's degree in English literature, journalism and fiction from the University of Cincinnati and also served as Florida Today's Kennedy Space Center Bureau Chief during his tenure at Florida Today. Halvorson has been an independent aerospace journalist since 2013.