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NASA Gives "Go" For Space Shuttle Launch Dec 6


NASA Gives "Go" for Space Shuttle Launch on Dec. 6

NASA senior managers completed a thorough review Friday of space shuttle Atlantis' readiness for flight and selected Dec. 6 as the official launch date for mission STS-122. Commander Steve Frick and his six crewmates are scheduled to lift off to the International Space Station at 4:31 p.m. EST.

During the 11-day mission, the crew will install the European Space Agency's new Columbus laboratory. Columbus will expand the research facilities of the station and provide scientists around the world with the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments. The mission will include at least three spacewalks, delivery of a new crew member to the station and the return of another astronaut after nearly two months aboard the station.

Atlantis' launch date was announced after the conclusion of Friday's Flight Readiness Review. During the one-day meeting, top NASA and contractor managers assessed any risks associated with the mission and determined whether the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight.

Joining Commander Frick on STS-122 will be pilot Alan Poindexter and mission specialists Leland Melvin, Rex Walheim, Stanley Love and European Space Agency astronauts Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts. Eyharts will replace current station crew member Dan Tani, who has lived on the outpost since October. Eyharts will return to Earth on shuttle Endeavour's STS-123 mission, currently targeted for launch on Feb. 14, 2008.

ENDS

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