Atlantis on Track for November Launch

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida technicians are back in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 today performing final checks on space shuttle Atlantis. The vehicle is set to move, or rollover, to the Vehicle Assembly Building tomorrow with first motion scheduled for 7 a.m. EDT.

In the VAB, the external tank and solid rocket boosters, now secured in place, also are undergoing final checks and testing.

After Atlantis is joined with the tank and boosters, the giant crawler-transporter will be rolled under the mobile launcher platform. The entire stack now is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39A on Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the STS-129 crew members will be reviewing deorbit burn procedures and space station systems manuals, and practicing heat shield repair techniques.

The astronauts are scheduled to fly to Kennedy on Oct. 19 to participate in the three-day Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT. Typically held prior to launch, TCDT gives the crew an opportunity to check the fit of their spacesuits, practice emergency evacuation procedures at the launch pad, review firefighting methods, and participate in briefings on security and range safety.