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Atlantis scheduled for June 8 lift off

5 June, 2007

Space shuttle Atlantis would take off for outer space on June 8, 2007 to deliver new solar arrays to the International Space Station (ISS.) The decision has been given the NASA nod.

The STS-117 mission will see the delivery of the second and third starboard truss segments and a new pair of solar arrays to the space station, which will be installed during three planned spacewalks. The STS-117 solar arrays are the third of four US-built power-generating wings to launch towards the ISS before the station's planned completion in 2010, said a report.

On June 8, 2007, 7:38 EDT(2338 GMT), the shuttle will lift off, as decided by a Flight Readiness Review meeting by mission managers and engineers, a news agency report said. The NASA authorities said that there are no show stoppers ahead of the lift off program.

Earlier, it had been reported that the 11-day STS-117 mission was set for March 15. However, it was delayed owing to hail damage to the orbiter's foam-covered external tank in February last. NASA isnít taking any chances this time around. The Atlantis will have an all-male crew.

Reports from NASA said that Atlantis has a clear launch window from June 8 to 12. If the shuttle fails to launch by June 12, it will stand down for four days to allow the scheduled launch of a Lockheed Martin Atlas rocket on June 14. The next launch opportunity will then be June 17, they added.

Also, Expedition 15/16 flight engineer Clay Anderson will fly aboard Atlantis, and will replace Expedition 15 flight engineer Sunita Williams.

Williams has been aboard the station since December 2006. She will return to Earth with the STS-117 crew.





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