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Hail Damage Forces Shuttle Atlantis Off Launch Pad


> Feb. 27, 2007
> Katherine Trinidad
> Headquarters, Washington
> 202-358-3749
> Kyle Herring/Jessica Rye
> Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
> 321-867-2468 
> RELEASE: 07-60
> CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA decided Tuesday to roll the space shuttle 
> Atlantis off its launch pad and back inside the Vehicle Assembly 
> Building at the Kennedy Space Center. Managers made the decision 
> after a hail storm Monday damaged the orbiter's External Tank. A new 
> target launch date has not been determined, but teams will focus on 
> preparing Atlantis for liftoff in late April. 
> On Monday, a severe thunderstorm with golf ball-size hail caused what 
> could be 1,000 to 2,000 divots in the giant tank's foam insulation 
> and minor surface damage to about 26 heat shield tiles on the 
> shuttle's left wing. Further evaluation of the tank is necessary to 
> get an accurate accounting of foam damage and must be done in the 
> Vehicle Assembly Building, where the entire tank can be more easily 
> accessed. The shuttle is expected to be moved off the pad by early 
> next week. 
> Once an up-close look at the damage is complete, the type of repair 
> required and the time needed for that work can be determined. 
> Atlantis' flight, STS-117, to the International Space Station will be 
> scheduled sometime after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft returns from the 
> station. The Soyuz is delivering new station crew members and 
> returning others back to Earth in late April. Adequate time is needed 
> between the Soyuz undocking and the shuttle's arrival to the station. 
> STS-117 Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and mission 
> specialists Jim Reilly, Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson and John 
> "Danny" Olivas will continue training at NASA's Johnson Space Center, 
> Houston, as they await a new target launch date. During the 11-day 
> mission, the astronauts will work with the station crew and ground 
> teams to install a new truss segment, unfold a new set of solar 
> arrays and retract one array on the starboard side of the station. 
> Space Shuttle Program managers are gathered at the Kennedy Space 
> Center for the traditional Flight Readiness Review for the mission. 
> During the two-day meeting, NASA managers and engineers assess any 
> risks associated with the mission and determine whether the shuttle's 
> equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight. The 
> meeting, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, will continue as 
> planned. 
> For information about the STS-117 crew and mission, visit: 
> http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle
> -end-
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