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The Mission




Orbiter: Atlantis
Mission: STS-117
Launch: June 8, 2007
Time: 7:38 p.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: June 22 @ 3:49 p.m. EDT
Site: Edwards Air Force Base, California

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Atlantis launch coverage

Shuttle Atlantis blasted off Friday evening on its mission to the space station.

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Atlantis date set

NASA leaders hold this news briefing to announce shuttle Atlantis' launch date and recap the Flight Readiness Review.

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Phoenix: At the Cape

NASA's Mars lander named Phoenix has arrive at Kennedy Space Center to begin preparations for launch in August.

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STS-63: A rendezvous with space station Mir

As a prelude to future dockings between American space shuttles and the Russian space station Mir, the two countries had a test rendezvous in Feb. 1995.

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"Apollo 17: On The Shoulders of Giants"

Apollo's final lunar voyage is relived in this movie. The film depicts the highlights of Apollo 17's journey to Taurus-Littrow and looks to the future Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and shuttle programs.

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Atlantis returns to pad

Two months after rolling off the launch pad to seek repairs to the hail-damaged external fuel tank, space shuttle Atlantis returns to pad 39A for mission STS-117.

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More video



Two more space station computers revived
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: June 16, 2007

Hoping for the best, space station commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Oleg Kotov hot wired two computers aboard the international space station today that engineers had feared were victims of fatal power supply failures. To everyone's delight, the machines promptly booted up and appeared to be running normally, two more successes in an improbable recovery from crippling computer crashes last week.

Two of the three computers making up the Russian segment's guidance, navigation and control computers, along with two of three central control computers, were successfully revived Friday when Yurchikhin and Kotov used jumper cables to bypass suspect surge protectors in secondary power supply circuits.

The redundant so-called soft switches were designed to shut off power to their respective computers in the event of surges or spikes in the incoming electricity. Engineers now believe the installation of a new solar power truss last Monday triggered a subtle change in the station's power grid that somehow caused the secondary power supply switches to respond, preventing their computers from booting up.

Russian engineers believed four of the six primary computers were healthy and victims of the overly sensitive switches. When the switches were bypassed Friday, the four computers, two in each system, booted up normally. After a thorough checkout, one machine in each chain was put back in control of critical station functions.

Russian engineers believed the other two computers were victims of power supply hardware failures and no attempt was made to start them on Friday. But today, Yurchikhin and Kotov installed jumper cables on the off chance the computers were, in fact, healthy and both started up normally.

"Overnight, our Russian colleagues conferred with us and confirmed that, in fact, all six computers are working," said Mike Suffredini, space station program manager at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "In fact, with the modification they did on the four I told you about last night, they did that modification on those last two, they brought all six computers up and confirmed they were all operating nominally. Then they went back down to a four-computer set again and continued to check out the computers.

"Currently, they have all six computers up while we do some additional troubleshooting to understand the environment and how it might affect the computers."

In the meantime, the Russians have decided to leave one computer in each system on standby to serve as an operational backup should any other problems crop up.

The bottom line, Suffredini said, is that "it appears to everyone the command-and-control-type computers are functioning just fine. In addition to that, we're doing our planning to test the attitude control system. Once we have confirmed the attitude control system can work, that will confirm not only that the guidance, navigation and control set of computers is working but also that the guidance, navigation and control computers can talk to the command-and-control computers. ... So when that test is complete, we will consider that the computers are up and healthy. At that point, we will confer with our shuttle colleagues on a departure date."

Atlantis astronauts Pat Forrester and Steve Swanson plan to stage a six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk Sunday to finish the activation of a powerful rotary joint designed to slowly turn the newly installed S4 solar arrays to keep them roughly face-on to the sun. A variety of other station assembly get-ahead tasks are planned as well.

If all goes well, the astronauts will seal hatches between the station and the shuttle on Monday and undock Tuesday for a return to Earth next Thursday.

"So things are looking up very well," Suffredini said. "If all goes according to plan and the checkout goes well, we will transfer as much oxygen as our shuttle colleagues can afford to give us and then we will ... close the hatch Monday evening and have the shuttle depart on Tuesday."

Engineers still don't know what changed in the space station's electrical system that might have affected the operation of the secondary power supply surge protectors. Suffredini said attention now is focusing on the electrically charged plasma environment the station flies through and how that electrical environment changes as the lab complex grows.

"We've had a lot of discussions with our Russian colleagues, who seem to concur with our assessment that this is probably due to this potential, the plasma environment we fly through, that as the station gets bigger this potential will continue to grow," Suffredini said. "We've been collecting a lot of data, we have instruments that measure this potential. The Russians are very interested in that data. They have noted some changes in their systems as we have grown. ... I think we're going to find there's some sensitivity to the noise that is created as we change the space station."

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VIDEO: SECOND SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST SOLAR WING FULLY DEPLOYED PLAY
VIDEO: FIRST SOLAR WING DEPLOYED HALF-WAY PLAY

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VIDEO: NARRATED PREVIEW OF THE SPACEWALKS PLAY
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VIDEO: SUNDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
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VIDEO: ATLANTIS DOCKS WITH THE SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: WATCH THE RENDEZVOUS BACKFLIP MANUEVER PLAY
VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: SATURDAY'S MISSION STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: FLIGHT DAY 1 HIGHLIGHTS MOVIE PLAY
VIDEO: INSIDE MISSION CONTROL DURING LAUNCH PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: VIEW FROM COMPLEX 41 PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: PAD PERIMETER PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: THE VAB ROOF PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: THE PRESS SITE PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: UCS-23 TRACKER PLAY
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VIDEO: LAUNCH REPLAY: CAMERA AT THE BEACH PLAY

VIDEO: LAUNCH OF ATLANTIS! PLAY
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VIDEO: EXTERNAL TANK ONBOARD VIDEO CAMERA PLAY
VIDEO: POST-LAUNCH PRESS CONFERENCE PLAY

VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS DEPART QUARTERS FOR THE PAD PLAY
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