NASA began the countdown for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-115 at noon EDT Thursday, Aug. 24, at the T-43 hour point. During this mission, Atlantis' crew will resume the construction of the International Space Station, which is the goal of the remaining space shuttle flights in the program.
This mission is the 116th space shuttle flight, the 27th flight for orbiter Atlantis, and the 19th U.S. flight to the International Space Station. STS-115 is scheduled to last 11 days with a planned KSC landing at about 12:02 p.m. EDT on Sept. 7.
Atlantis rolled into KSC's Orbiter Processing Facility on Oct. 18, 2002, after returning from its last mission, STS-112. Its next mission was planned to be STS-114; however, during the program delays following the loss of orbiter Columbia, Atlantis was reassigned to mission STS-115. The orbiter rolled out of the facility's bay 1 and into the Vehicle Assembly Building on July 24. While in the building's high bay 3, Atlantis was mated to its modified external tank and solid rocket boosters. The entire space shuttle stack was transferred to Launch Pad 39B on Aug. 2.
The STS-115 crew includes Commander Brent Jett, Pilot Chris Ferguson, and Mission Specialists Joe Tanner, Dan Burbank, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper and Steve MacLean of the Canadian Space Agency.