Seven missions slip – Hubble moves up, begins major planning

by Chris Bergin

STS-125 – the final Hubble serving mission – has unexpectedly moved up NASA’s shuttle schedule, in the biggest schedule shake-up in years, involving seven missions slipping and the swapping of orbiters on three missions.

The move of STS-125 to earlier next summer – and now only seven missions away – was also accompanied by the opening salvo of major planning documentation for the flagship mission, which remains as Atlantis’ swansong.

**The most comprehensive collection of STS-117 onwards related presentions and mission documentation are available to download on L2 **

**LIVE news updates on Atlantis STS-117 PAD Flow**

**LIVE news updates on Endeavour STS-118 (LON-318) Processing**

**LIVE news updates on Discovery STS-122 (LON-322) Processing**

Related documentation on L2: STS-125 Baseline Documents and Notes – March (22 documents) – Major STS Flight Schedule Changes (New FAWGs) – March 27 – NASA White Paper on Manifest Changes – March 27 – Shuttle Flight Preparation Status Charts to STS-124 – Mar 27.

The changes to the manifest are – as always – part of an ongoing process for planning purposes, with the alterations in this instance being used to ensure the possibility of four flights in 2007.

As revealed by this site on Monday, three missions are swapping orbiters, STS-120 – to Discovery, STS-122 – to Atlantis, and STS-124 – to Discovery. However, the now-documented changes are more wide-ranging than previously expected.

With the second week in April being decisive for STS-117’s launch date decision, currently – should full repairs on ET-124 prove to be viable – Atlantis is set to kick off 2007 with a NET (No Earlier Than) launch date of May 11. NET June 17 is the other option, should NASA decide to swap tanks with the soon-to-arrive ET-117.

‘NASA is evaluating potential manifest options to address the STS-117 launch delay caused by hail damage to Atlantis’ external fuel tank, designated ET-124,’ noted a White Paper from NASA on the Change Request on Shuttle Manifest.

‘To facilitate this evaluation, a manifest Change Request (CR) was entered into the Space Shuttle program configuration management system on March 26, 2007. The CR reflects several key assumptions that are needed for the teams to evaluate the manifest.

**Ride home through the fire and plasma of re-entry with Atlantis on STS-115 – And now also with Discovery on STS-116 – TWO Stunning high quality 2hr, 355mb videos – from deorbit burn to post landing**

‘It first proposes a May 11 planning date for the STS-117 launch. Although the program may not make that date, it requires some mark on the calendar from which to make its evaluations.

‘The CR also proposes switching Shuttles for certain missions to maximize the availability of orbiters while minimizing in the near term the impact on mission accomplishment. All of these proposed changes likely will change again before these missions are actually launched.

‘Although the CR does not propose a launch schedule after October 2008, the program maintains its commitment to accomplish our mission and end Shuttle operations by the end of September 2010.

Looking through these manifest changes in the schedule, Endeavour rejoins flight operations with STS-118, 16 days later than previously scheduled, with a NET launch date of July 14. Other slips range from one to two months in length.

Those changes become more complex in the late 2007 and 2008 schedule, involving the move of STS-120 from Atlantis to Discovery, with a launch planning date of October 13, 2007. Moving STS-122 from Discovery to Atlantis, with a launch planning date of December 6, 2007. STS-123 launch planning date of February 14, 2008.

STS-124 moves from Atlantis to Discovery, with a launch planning date of April 24, 2008. Accelerating STS-125, the Hubble Servicing Mission, into late August 2008. STS-119 launch planning date into October 2008, but more importantly, proposes to use STS-119/Endeavour as the launch on need rescue (LON) vehicle for STS-125 – and will be sat on Pad 39B when Atlantis launches on STS-125.

STS-125 in turn has gained a large upturn in planning this month, with over 22 documents now added to its baseline. These planning documents range from mission control support to on-orbit activities – such as timelines and EVAs. Documents show refinements to the mission, laying the foundations for what will be a full flight plan being produced in the coming months. (Another article will follow on the Hubble planning documents.)

However, STS-125 is still a long way off from flying, with six other missions preceding it, and the immediate focus being placed on STS-117.

‘This is a working level process that involves evaluating options, for planning purposes only, in order to identify opportunities to minimize impacts to the overall program schedule,’ added the White Paper on the manifest changes, which were signed with a recommendation to approve. ‘To assist in the evaluation, a number of assumptions have been made that are intended to provide a common framework from which the teams will evaluate the viability of the proposed changes to the manifest.

‘It must be emphasized that repair work and engineering analysis continue, and it will not be practical to make a decision on ET-124 utilization and the associated change in the STS-117 launch date before the April 10, 2007 progress review.

‘Much of the early information used in the working group manifest evaluation process is based on standard templates for mission preparedness and do not necessarily reflect specific information on the condition of the vehicle and the progress of repair. It is simply too early to know the specific STS-117 launch date at this point. The STS-117 launch date will impact other manifest dates, at least in the near-term.

‘As such, the evaluation process and any specific information currently being considered are subject to change as more information becomes available. Any formalized change in the baseline manifest will undergo a standard Shuttle program review that will include appropriate interfaces with other NASA organizations.’

Below is an updated launch schedule, based on the March 27th documentation:

April 7 – Soyuz TMA-10 (14S)
May 11 (TBD) – STS-117 (13A) – Atlantis – S3/S4
May 12 (TBD) – Progress M-60 (25P) (depends on STS-117 flight)
[July 5 (TBD) – STS-318 (Rescue STS-117) – Endeavour]
July 14 (TBD) – STS-118 (13A.1) – Endeavour – S5, Spacehab-SM, ESP3
August 16 – Progress M-61 (26P)
[September 28 (TBD) – STS-322 (Rescue STS-118) – Discovery]
October 2 – Soyuz TMA-11 (15S)
October 13 (TBD) – STS-120 (10A) – Discovery – Node 2 ‘Harmony’
November (TBD) – ATV-1 ‘Jules Verne’
[December 2 (TBD) – STS-320 (Rescue STS-120) – Atlantis]
December 6 (TBD) – STS-122 (1E) – Atlantis – Columbus, ICC-Lite
December 12 (TBD) – Progress M-62 (27P) (depends on STS-122 flight)


[January 31 (TBD) – STS-323 (Rescue STS-122) – Endeavour]
February 12 (TBD) – Progress M-63 (28P) (depends on STS-123 flight)
February 14 (TBD) – STS-123 (1J/A) – Endeavour – JEM ELM-PS, SLP-D1 with SPDM ‘Dextre’
April 8 – Soyuz TMA-12 (16S)
[April 10 (TBD) – STS-324 (Rescue STS-123) – Discovery]
April 24 (TBD) – STS-124 (1J) – Discovery – JEM PM with JEM RMS
[July 23 (TBD) – STS-319 (Rescue STS-124) – Endeavour]
August 28 (TBD) – STS-125 (HST-SM4) – Atlantis
[September 4 (TBD) – STS-3XX (Rescue STS-125) – Discovery]
October (TBD) – STS-119 (15A) – Endeavour – S6


TBD – STS-126 (ULF2) – Discovery – MPLM, LMC
TBD – STS-127 (2J/A) – Endeavour – JEM EF, ELM-ES, SLP-D2
July – HTV-1
TBD – STS-128 (17A) – Discovery – MPLM, LMC
TBD – STS-129 (ULF3) – Endeavour – ELC1, ELC2
TBD – MLM (3R) – ERA


TBD – STS-130 (19A) – Discovery – MPLM, LMC
[TBD – STS-131 (ULF4/CLF) – Endeavour – ELC3, ELC4]
TBD – STS-132 (20A) – Discovery – Node 3 with Cupola
[TBD – STS-133 (ULF5/CLF) – Endeavour – ELC5, ELC1 (TBD)]

(Video section is FREE, but you need to sign up as a member of the forum to enter the video section of the site. We only use your e-mail to send you your password. It will not be used for spam etc.)

** Job Opportunities** 

Related Articles