STS-135: Busy Shuttle Preparations Weekend

Status Report From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2011

image A busy weekend is under way at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A in Florida.

With space shuttle Atlantis' STS-135 mission payload now secured inside the pad's rotating service structure, the RSS was closed Saturday morning, and Atlantis' payload bay doors are scheduled to be opened Saturday night. It's all part of the preparations to install the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module and other payloads bound for the International Space Station into the shuttle's cargo bay on Monday.

Also on Saturday, technicians begin high-tech X-ray scans of the tops and bottoms of 50 support beams, called stringers, on the shuttle-facing side of Atlantis' external tank. The scans are expected to take about a week to complete and confirm there are no issues with the tank stringers.

Technicians also begin preparations to replace a suspected leaky valve in Atlantis' space shuttle main engine No. 3.

And Atlantis' four veteran astronauts are scheduled to fly in their T-38 aircraft from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to Kennedy on Monday. They're set to arrive at about 5:45 p.m. EDT to being their prelaunch countdown dress rehearsal, called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT), and related training. Their arrival at Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility will be carried live on NASA TV and on the web at

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