Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Shuttle Launch Schedule Revamped for 2007


NASA announces a new shuttle launch schedule given the postponement of the March Atlantis mission to June 8 due to hail damage to the external fuel tank insulation. The STS-117 mission continues the ISS construction work on an 11 day mission to delivery additional new solar arrays for the station. The shuttle Endeavor will then fly STS-118 sometime shortly after August 9, delivering a new starboard station truss.

The next mission, STS-120, will then fly around Oct.20 on Discovery, rather than utilize Atlantis as originally planned. The October mission will bring the Harmony connector node to the ISS, which will allow the planned European and Japanese laboratory modules to be connected to the station. Atlantis will then close out the year's launches with the delivery of the European Columbus lab module in a proposed December 6 launch.

The first two 2008 launches have also been scheduled, the first being a Feb. 14 Endeavor mission, STS-123, to deliver the Candian-built robotic arm addition and the first of the three segments for the Japanese constructed Kibo lab module. The second segment of the module will fly April 24 aboard Discovery on STS-124, along with another robotic arm for the Kibo module.

Exciting times we live in. Hopefully the remainder of the year goes as planned.

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