SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468
*Training Continues for Mission STS-117*
Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester (left) and Atlantis Commander Frederick Sturckow, attired in the training version of the launch and landing suit, prepare for flight in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at Johnson Space Center. Trainer Robert H. Tomaro (far right) assisted the astronauts. Photo credit: NASA/JSC + View High-res Image http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/168170main_training.jpg
The flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station on mission STS-117 has been targeted for March 15, a day earlier than originally planned.
Final vehicle closeouts are under way and the orbiter is scheduled to roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for mating with the external tank and solid rocket boosters on Feb. 7.
Meanwhile, the canister that holds the S3/S4 solar arrays has been "fit tested" and is scheduled to be transported to the pad on Feb. 18.
On the next space shuttle flight to continue constructing the station, the Atlantis crew will install a new truss segment, retract a set of solar arrays and unfold a new set on the starboard side of the station. Lessons learned from two previous missions will provide the astronauts with new techniques and tools to perform their duties.
Commanding the Atlantis team is Frederick Sturckow, a veteran of two shuttle missions (STS-88, STS-105), while Lee Archambault will be making his first flight as the shuttle's pilot. Mission Specialists James Reilly (STS-89, STS-104) and Patrick Forrester (STS-105) will be returning to the station. Steven Swanson and John Olivas, both mission specialists, join the crew for their first flight into space.
The mission astronauts will return to Kennedy a few weeks before liftoff to participate in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. During this time they will practice launch activities, safety exercises, inspect the payload and conclude with a simulated main engine cut-off exercise.
*STS-117 Mission* + The Crew http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts117/index.html
+ The Integrated Truss Structure http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/its.html