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STS-117 Launch Day


*Launch Date:* June 8
*Launch Time: * 7:38 p.m. EDT

Image above: At Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility, Mission STS-117 
Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault are ready to begin 
practice flights in the shuttle training aircraft. In flight, the 
aircraft duplicates the unpowered orbiter's descent for landing on a 
runway. Photo credit: NASA/KSC
+ View High-res Image 

*06.07.07 - 10:30 a.m. EDT*
At this morning's Countdown Status Briefing, NASA Test Director Steve 
Payne reported that after many months of hard work Atlantis is ready to 
launch. External tank inspections are in process and there are no issues 
being tracked.

Upon completion of all checks and inspections the access platforms will 
be retracted. The xenon lights will be lit, brightly illuminating the 
space shuttle, which can be seen from miles away.

"We're ready to fly tomorrow," said Payne.

Roy Worthy, external tank and solid rocket booster vehicle manager, 
described the multitude of repairs performed on the external tank and 
thanked the hundreds of workers who labored days on end to complete the 

STS-117 Payload Manager, Robbie Ashley, reported that the payload was 
loaded into the orbiter's payload bay this week and everything is ready 
and secured for launch.

Kathy Winters, shuttle weather officer said there is now only a 
20-percent chance that weather would affect the launch. A high pressure 
ridge has entered the area and although the typical Florida afternoon 
storms may develop, they should be west of Kennedy Space Center and not 
an issue at launch time.

The forecast for tomorrow morning is for light winds and a zero percent 
chance of weather prohibiting the loading of propellants into the 
external tank.

Commander Rick Sturckow and Pilot Lee Archambault have been practicing 
landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and the entire crew is making 
final preparations for tomorrow's liftoff.

Transfer of the hydrogen and oxygen reactants were completed this 
morning. These reactants will be used by Atlantis to generate power 
during the mission. The umbilical unit was secured once the loading was 

The launch pad's rotating service structure is scheduled to roll away 
from Atlantis at 10:30 p.m. tonight. When in place, the giant revolving 
enclosure is used to install payloads into the orbiter's cargo bay and 
provide protection from inclement weather.

On Friday, launch day, propellant loading is set to begin at about 9:30 
a.m., with the pumping of more than 500,000 gallons of liquid oxygen and 
hydrogen into the vehicle's orange external tank.

NASA TV coverage of the launch and live launch countdown coverage from 
NASA's Launch Blog will begin at 1:30 p.m. EDT Friday.
+ NASA TV <http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html>
+ Launch Blog 

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