Atlantis launched, heads for International Space Station

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Atlantis blasts off on mission STS-117.

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Recent stories
Related News
About Atlantis

Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis is one of the fleet of space shuttles belonging to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was the fourth operational shuttle built. Following the destruction of Columbia, it is one of the three fully operational shuttles remaining in the fleet. The other two are Discovery and Endeavour. After it completes STS-125, the final Hubble Space Telescope service mission, Atlantis is scheduled to be the first shuttle retired from the fleet.

Other NASA Space Shuttles
Related Wikipedia articles

For more info on U.S. and other human spaceflight initiatives, please explore the links below.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

In the first space flight of 2007, Space Shuttle Atlantis blasted off on schedule yesterday, starting on an 11-day mission to the International Space Station.

Atlantis and its seven astronauts lifted off at 7:38 p.m. EDT (2338 GMT) from the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The launch pad, newly refurbished by NASA, had not been used since the launch of Space Shuttle Columbia, which ended in disaster on Feb. 1, 2003. Atlantis is scheduled to dock with the space station at around 1930 GMT tomorrow.

The goal for the Atlantis crew is to carry out the two missions that were left incomplete from the previous flight due to broken and jammed equipments. During the flight, the shuttle and its seven astronauts will deliver a new segment and will install energy-producing solar panels to the International Space Station. The payload is the heaviest ever flown to the space station, and includes a 45-foot (14-meter), 35,678-pound (16,183 kilogram) aluminium segment that will become part of the station's superstructure.

Trouble-plagued mission

The mission, STS-117 has been dogged by trouble. It was scheduled to launch in March, but a hailstorm in February damaged the orange external fuel tank, so the shuttle had to be rolled back into the Vehicle Assembly Building for repairs. After repairs, the tank had white specks visible in the orange insulation, and there was some concern over whether the insulation would hold. Falling foam insulation was blamed for the Columbia crash, in which all seven astronauts aboard were killed.

But yesterday's launch appeared to be flawless. "Give me more speckled tanks," the shuttle program manager, N. Wayne Hale Jr., was quoted as saying.

The delay in the launch of Atlantis also pushed back other missions.

NASA faced a scandal earlier in the year when one of its astronauts, Lisa Nowak, was fired after being charged in the attempted kidnapping of a fellow astronaut, William Oefelein, with whom she had been having an affair.

Sources

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has more about this subject:
Bookmark-new.svg