Atlantis Returns to Kennedy Space Center

July 3, 2007

The space shuttle Atlantis and its seven-member crew lifted off Friday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 7:38 p.m. EDT to continue construction of the International Space Station.

Shortly before launch, on behalf of the entire crew, Atlantis' Commander Rick Sturckow thanked the teams that help make this launch possible, and then added, "See you in a couple of weeks."

During the 11-day mission, designated STS-117, the crew will add a new structural component to the station, deploy a new set of solar arrays and retract an existing array. Similar construction work was conducted on the previous two shuttle missions.

The mission will deliver and install the 17.5 ton S3/S4 truss segments. This latest addition to the station's backbone will extend the right side of the truss and includes a new set of solar arrays. When unfolded, the 240-foot arrays provide additional power to the station in preparation for the arrival of new science modules from the European and Japanese space agencies. The crew also will retract a solar array to allow for the rotation of the new arrays to track the sun.

The station's newest resident also is traveling aboard Atlantis. Astronaut Clayton Anderson will join the Expedition 15 crew. Sunita Williams, who has been aboard the station since December, will return to Earth with the Atlantis crew. Anderson is scheduled to return to Earth on space shuttle Discovery's STS-120 mission in October.

Atlantis' crew is Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault and mission specialists Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, John "Danny" Olivas, Jim Reilly and Anderson.

Atlantis originally was targeted for launch in March, but a hail storm damaged foam insulation on the shuttle's external fuel tank and forced managers to roll the spacecraft off the pad to make repairs.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Private test pilots to fly first commercial crewed space flights for NASA

Related Stories

Atlantis' 1st full day in orbit nearly perfect

July 9, 2011

(AP) -- The space shuttle Atlantis hasn't performed like a ship ready for retirement. The first full day of the final flight of the aging space shuttle fleet - the most complicated machines ever built - was practically flawless.

Shuttle Atlantis heads home from space station

July 19, 2011

The crew of Atlantis undocked Tuesday from the International Space Station, wrapping up the last visit by a US shuttle to the orbiting outpost and setting its sights on an emotional homecoming.

NASA adds extra day to Atlantis's final mission

July 11, 2011

Astronauts aboard the shuttle Atlantis will get one extra day in space as they restock the International Space Station with a year's worth of food and supplies, NASA said Monday.

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.