Monday, December 03, 2007

Space Shuttle Launch This Thursday Afternoon

RELEASE: 07-262


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - 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

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.

For more information about the STS-122 mission, including images and
interviews with the crew, visit: