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Atlantis Astronauts Ready to Go



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC - AMSAT A/C #31468

*Atlantis Astronauts Ready to Go*

/ Sept. 8, 7:30 a.m. EDT (1130 UTC)/
Technicians helped the six STS-115 crew members get into the familiar 
orange launch and entry suits. The suits carry an oxygen supply, 
communications equipment and a temperature control system, and can 
provide protection in the event of an emergency. After suiting up, the 
astronauts will make their way out of the crew quarters to the waiting 
Astrovan that will take them to Launch Pad 39B, where Atlantis stands 
ready for launch.

The launch team has reported that an ECO sensor on the hydrogen side of 
the external tank has failed. At this time the team is pressing forward 
with launch preparations. Mission Management Team members are meeting to 
determine if they will consider launching with three working sensors or 
if it will be necessary to de-tank and come back tomorrow.

Launch weather remains at 70 percent "go" for launch, with the primary 
concern for rain within 20 miles of the Shuttle Landing Facility. No 
other issues are being addressed by the launch team at this time.

Follow along with the countdown:
+ NASA's Launch Blog 
<http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/launch/sts-115/launch-vlcc.html>
+ NASA TV <http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html>

*Mission Management Briefing*
During a Thursday evening news conference Wayne Hale, Space Shuttle 
Program manager, said the decision to fly came about after a lively and 
inclusive meeting with space shuttle mission managers and engineers held 
in the early afternoon. "If you ever wanted to see the difference 
between the old NASA and the new NASA, you should've been over there 
today. There was a chance for everyone to participate." Hale continued 
to say that the Mission Management team's vote to fly on Friday was 
nearly unanimous.

The decision to launch follows analysis of an issue found with one of 
Atlantis' three electricity-generating fuel cells, which was discovered 
during pre-launch preparations earlier this week. NASA engineers have 
determined that any failure of the suspect fuel cell during the mission 
poses no danger to Atlantis and its crew. They also believe two fuel 
cells alone would provide Atlantis with enough power to accomplish the 
major goals of the mission.

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