Atlantis Launch Today

Atlantis on the launch pad. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann The shuttle Atlantis will (hopefully) launch this morning around 11:41 AM EST. The schedule for this mission, STS115, has been moved around a lot but it’s finally getting off the ground.

You can read the mission overview on the STS115 page. NASA says:

NASA’s ready to get back to building the International Space Station, which means the shuttle program is coming up on some of the most challenging space missions ever. And it all starts with the launch of Atlantis on STS-115 in August.

Atlantis’ six crew members will install a second set of solar arrays on the space station, doubling the station’s ability to generate power from sunlight and adding 17.5 tons to its mass. It’s a mission they’ve had four years to train for, and it’s still no cakewalk.

“It’s a very busy flight,” Atlantis Commander Brent Jett said. “We’ve never had to fit so many activities back to back on consecutive days.”

Watch the launch on NASATV

Update: the mission has been postponed until Saturday at 11:14 due to a problem with a fuel system sensor.

September 8, 2006 | Posted in: Astronomy | Comments Closed

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