Following Monday’s meeting to plan out the possibility of four shuttle missions in 2007, further evaluations started on Tuesday, in order to determine whether to carrying out a crew rotation on the International Space Station (ISS) during STS-117, as opposed to STS-118.
Should the crew rotation be approved, Expedition 15 crewmember Clay Anderson will take up a seat on Atlantis, with Suni Williams returning with the rest of the STS-117 crew.
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UPDATE: Rotation for 117 Approved, pending Russian approval:
This rotation is ‘currently’ set to take place with Endeavour’s STS-118 mission. However, NASA managers are debating whether to keep within STS-118’s timeline, prior to the slips in the manifest due to hail damage on Atlantis’ ET-124.
Should NASA decide against the change, Williams will remains on the ISS for another two months, awaiting Endeavour’s August flight.
‘With the Shuttle Program’s decision to pursue a 13A (STS-117) launch on June 8 and a 13A.1 (STS-118) launch in early August, the ISS is now contemplating a crew rotation on 13A instead of 13A.1 as originally planned,’ noted NASA information acquired by this site ahead of the meeting and published on L2 Monday morning.
‘At Tuesday’s SSPCB, the planned agenda item to assess the updated manifest will now include a discussion on rotating Clay and Suni on 13A.’
No decision had been confirmed at time of publishing (article will be updated should that change). However, while the timeline makes perfect sense, given Endeavour/STS-118 was originally set to launch in June, a large amount of number crunching will be required on the changes to the crew rosters of both STS-117 and STS-118.
**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**
Meanwhile, the Russians have approved a change to the return of Expedition 14 members, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria, Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, and space tourist Charles Simoni.
Flooding at the scheduled landing site near Arkalyk for the Soyuz TMA-9 has seen the Russians alter the landing site to a more southerly area of Kazakhstan – believed to be near Dgezkazgan – which requires a one day extension to their stay in space.
‘Update on Soyuz 13S Return: The Russian Commission has approved shifting 13S Undocking & Landing by one day to 4/21 (Saturday) to avoid the usual northern landing zone of Kazakhstan, currently subject to Spring thaw flooding,’ noted Tuesday’s On Orbit Status report.
‘Landing more southerly requires a one-day shift. Undocking will be at 5:11:30am EDT, entry interface at 8:08:29am and landing at 8:30:34am (6:30:34pm Kazakhstan time). Sunset at landing site: 10:23am, i.e., well within SAR-required flight rules.]’