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Shuttle Atlantis Being Readied For August Launch 34

DarkNemesis618 writes "The Space Shuttle Atlantis was moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building today to begin the mating process to it's external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters. Atlantis is scheduled to launch either August 27th or 28th, being only the 3rd launch since the Columbia tragedy in 2003. Atlantis is set to resume construction of the International Space Station by bringing up the second set of massive solar arrays needed for the laboratory modules that are to be added later on in the station's construction. Once the flight review is completed (Aug. 16), an exact date will be set for launch. Pending any problems, rollout to the launchpad is scheduled for July 31st."
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Shuttle Atlantis Being Readied For August Launch

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  • Engage the cloak, or the Wraith hive ships will come!
  • As are all launches of such a grand vehicle.
  • Well, they will finally get those new solar panels installed. Now the crew wont have to draw straws to decide who gets to pick the game system for the "night".
  • Any hints on why they don't seem to use Endeavour anymore?
    I thought, Endeavour is their newest and hence most modern craft.
  • by Aglassis ( 10161 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @02:59AM (#15774333)
    This should be an interesting mission mostly due to the complicated spacewalk required to install the P3/P4 truss segment [] and its associated solar arrays. Currently the P5 truss and its solar arrays are mounted on the Z1 truss. The P3/P4 truss segment and its solar arrays need to go in between. I'm not exactly sure how they plan to do this but I would assume they are going to temporarily move the P5 truss and solar arrays to some temporary mounting point (perhaps they will retract the solar arrays if that is possible). Then they will install the P3/P4 truss and reinstall the P5 truss outboard (and extend the solar arrays).

    Since the station has always had power from the P5 truss while it has been inhabited it will have to depend on temporary power from another source (such as the solar arrays on the Zvezda service module or the Zarya control module). This may add additional time constraints in this spacewalk. For fans of spacewalks this will be a blast! It will definitely be one of the most complicated spacewalks ever performed.

    If you aren't a fan of spacewalks and complicated juggling tricks in space, this might be a boring mission for you.
  • As happy as I am to see the shuttle flying, I wonder if NASA can not use spaceX's falcon 9 to speed things up; It holds 2x the cargo of the shuttle at a 1/10 of the cost. It would be nice to put up a double load.

    Somewhere down the road, America needs to develop an automated system similar to progress.
    • One possible reason is that the Falcon 9 has never flown at all, much less in its maximum lift configuration. Even in this maximum lift configuration, it will only boost an extra ton into LEO over the Shuttle. I agree that the US's reliance on shuttle is the most braindead decision ever made in the US space program (would have saved tons of money and lives sticking with the Saturn V), but it is unfortunately the only thing flying right now that can do the job with the exception, perhaps, of Russia's Proton
    • Somewhere down the road, America needs to develop an automated system similar to progress.

      Europe will have one very soon. []
      • As will Japan. []

        Anyone getting the feeling that our (US) partners are starting to doubt our willingness, or far worse, our ability to deliver the lunch? That makes three independant mechanisms for supplying the ISS. I'm starting to think that maybe they just don't trust us (US) anymore. . .

        • Getting 2 crafts together is always tricky. In fact, EU's ATV will go through several trips to attempt this and make sure. With this automation, it allows EU to participate in space without having to worry about directly putting ppl into space.
          The interesting, and far more difficult, automation is what DARPA did recently. That was trying to hoover around a craft without running into it. That will allow for a number of interesting capablities. The most useful (in terms of civil use) is true robotic assmebl
    • Spacex has one 30 second failed launch under its belt, and is starting to look a bit dodgy with the lack of communication. I wouldn't consider any company that has yet to even launch a small rocket as a competitor.
      • They will likely launch in another 6 months. I was not thinking of them as a competitor to the shuttle but more of an ancillary. It would be nice to be able to send up several payloads at once (one on the shuttle and another on another launcher such as Spacex) and let a team put it together.
    • Carrying up supplies is one thing, carrying up the full parts for the station is another. Currently only the shuttle itself has that capability.
  • When anything Nasa did involved non stop TV all day, analysis in the studio, days off school to watch grainy B&W images of astronauts and a feeling of breathless excitement at the sheer awesomeness of the event.
    These days it's a comment at the end of the news that something launched and everyone shrugs and mumbles 'so what'. A pity. We've totally lost sight of just what mankind has achieved in space.
    Obviously it will eventually become normal stuff, it has to otherwise we'd all wet ourselves everytim
    • Those days are back, sort of. HDNet has a contract with NASA to cover all launches through 2010. They did non-stop coverage of the recent Discovery launch and its return.

      HDNet has provided NASA with a number of HD cameras, not just for TV coverage, but to assist in the inspection of the shuttle for foam damage. A shuttle launch in 1080i is quite a sight -- I spent most of the July 4th weekend watching the HDNet coverage (remember there were 2 scrubs before the actual launch on the 4th). Missed the retur
  • When I was a young kid (in the shadow of the Apollo mission days), I'd hoped that manned space flights would have become so routine by the 21st century that they wouldn't even make the news. They would garner as much attention as a plane taking off at the local airport., I'd be living on the moon by now with my female android wife. Strike 3.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"