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Fri, Apr 06, 2007

NASA Will Transport New External Fuel Tank To KSC... Just In Case

May Decide To Swap Tanks On Atlantis

NASA said it will transport a new shuttle external fuel tank to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida this week... just in case engineers decide it best to swap out the hail-damaged tank now attached to the shuttle Atlantis.

UPI reports NASA will make the decision to either use the new tank, or the one now under repair for hail damage, as soon as early next week. As Aero-News reported, the external tank was hardest hit by a late-February hailstorm centered over Kennedy Space Center.

The focus is currently on repairs to the liquid oxygen section. Work continues to assess and repair the damaged tank, with foam repairs to its liquid hydrogen area -- located at the bottom of the external tank -- complete.

According to NASA, during the STS-117's 11-day mission, the six-member crew will install a new truss segment, retract a set of solar arrays and unfold a new set on the starboard side of the International Space Station.

Currently, the crew is training at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Johnson Space Center in Houston while awaiting a launch date.

FMI: www.nasa.gov/shuttle

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