Atlantis Coming Home, Endeavor Moving To Launch Pad
Space shuttle Endeavour's move from
NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39B to Launch Pad 39A was
targeted, as of a few hours ago, to begin at 2 a.m. Sunday, May 31.
The 2-hour delay will allow engineers and technicians to complete
move preparations following delays due to inclement weather at
Endeavour's flight will deliver the final components of the
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Kibo laboratory to the
International Space Station. The 16-day mission will include five
spacewalks and the installation of two platforms outside of the
Japanese module. One platform is permanent and will serve as a type
of porch for experiments that require direct exposure to space. The
other is an experiment storage palette that will be detached and
returned with the shuttle. During the mission, Kibo's robotic arm
will exchange three experiments from the palette to the platform.
Future experiments also can be transfer to the platform from the
inside using the laboratory’s airlock. Endeavour also will
deliver a new crew member and bring back another after more than
three months aboard the station.
The STS-127 payload, the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module Exposed
Facility and Experiment Logistics Module Exposed Section, is
already at Launch Pad 39A and will be installed in Endeavour after
the shuttle arrives at the pad. Liftoff is targeted for June
The STS-125 ferry flight departure is now scheduled for no
earlier than Monday morning. Flight managers are looking at various
options for the best route to the Kennedy Space Center. Weather
remains very dynamic.
The mate of Atlantis to the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft was
scheduled for Saturday evening. Space shuttle Atlantis landed at
Edwards Air Force Base in California on May 24, completing a 13-day
journey of approximately 5.3 million miles in space. Atlantis will
return to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida next week atop a
modified 747 jet known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.