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STS-117 - Mating to Begin


*Mating to Begin *

  Atlantis is suspended vertically in the Vehicle Assembly Building. 
Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller + View High-res Image 


Space Shuttle Atlantis hangs suspended in its sling in the transfer 
aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building. Preparations are underway to 
lift the vehicle up into high bay 1, where it will be lowered onto the 
mobile launcher platform for mating to the external tank and solid 
rocket boosters.

The orbiter was transported to the Vehicle Assembly Building on 
Wednesday. First motion was at 6:19 a.m. EST.

The rollover marks a milestone in the start of the vehicle's journey to 
Launch Pad 39A, scheduled for Feb. 14. Mission STS-117 will be the first 
launch at Pad 39A in four years.

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.

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 

+ The Mission 

+ The Integrated Truss Structure 

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