Science and Technology News

Thursday, June 23, 2011

STS-135 Countdown Rehearsal Complete

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida this morning, the four Atlantis astronauts put on their bright orange launch-and-entry suits and traveled to Launch Pad 39A aboard the Astrovan, just as they will on launch day a couple of weeks from now. Climbing into space shuttle Atlantis, they participated in a countdown dress rehearsal.

The crew members are wrapping up their on-site training at Kennedy before departing from the Shuttle Landing Facility later today for the flight back to their home base at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. At Johnson, they'll continue their training for the final space shuttle flight, the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station. The crew plans to return to Kennedy on July 4 in preparation for the targeted liftoff on July 8.

Work at the launch pad continues as technicians are scanning the bottom portions of the stringers on Atlantis' external fuel tank, and no issues have been found. A mass spectrometer external leak check of the shuttle's engine No. 3's main fuel valve was completed, and technicians now are installing insulation. A full retest of the valve is set for this weekend.

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