Science and Technology News

Friday, June 24, 2011

Shuttle and Crew Preparations Under Way for Final Flight

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians at Launch Pad 39A have completed scanning the bottom portions of the stringers, which are the 21-foot long support beams on space shuttle Atlantis' external fuel tank. Engineers are analyzing the X-ray scans now and no issues have been found. Teams at the pad also are installing the heat shield for space shuttle main engine No. 3, and this weekend they will conduct a full retest of the engine's main fuel valve. The valve was replaced earlier in the week due to a suspected leak detected during a tanking test on June 15.

The STS-135 astronauts are back at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston following the completion of their countdown dress rehearsal and training activities at Kennedy this week. Today they'll conduct a final review of the flight data file in preparation for their mission to the International Space Station.

The targeted launch date for this final mission of the Space Shuttle Program is July 8.

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