NASA Sets Launch Date For Final Space Shuttle MissionCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Atlantis' Commander Chris Ferguson and his three crewmates are scheduled to begin a 12-day mission to the International Space Station with a launch at 11:26 a.m. EDT on July 8, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The STS-135 mission is the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program.
The launch date was announced Tuesday at the conclusion of a flight readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle and station's equipment, support systems and personnel are ready.
Atlantis' STS-135 mission will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain space station operations after the shuttles are retired.
The mission also will fly the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), an experiment designed to demonstrate and test the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space - even satellites not designed to be serviced. The crew also will return an ammonia pump that recently failed on the station. Engineers want to understand why the pump failed and improve designs for future spacecraft.
The crew consists of Commander Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. They are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Monday, July 4, for final launch preparations.
STS-135 is the 135th shuttle mission, Atlantis' 33rd flight and the 37th shuttle mission to the station.
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Posted: June 28, 2011
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