NASA sets new launch date targets through to STS-124

by Chris Bergin

NASA managers have held a launch schedule meeting Monday, and have approved a refined launch manifest for shuttle missions in 2007 and mid-way through 2008.

The changes to the ever-fluid launch schedule were caused by the damage to Atlantis’ External Tank (ET-124), which is currently set to fly on STS-117. The launch was pushed back to early June, following repair timeline estimates and launch window availability.

Updated manifest based on source information is available below (now confirmed accurate by official release).

**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 VAB 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: 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. ET Repair Documentation – from start of March to April – plus more (vast).

**Previous articles related to the ET damage events: Article 1Article 2 – Article 3 – Article 4 – Article 5 – Article 6 – Article 7 – Article 8 – Article 9 – Article 10Article 11 – Article 12 – Article 13 – Article 14 – Article 15** Click for more screenshots of the damage.

Sunday night/Monday morning article, previewing meeting. All information now official and accurate:

Before the decision to continue with ET-124 repairs – and the amount of time required to repair it – several planning documents showed how the manifest would likely change in relation to STS-117 being pushed back, along with the requirement to stay on the ground during what is known as the Solar Beta Cut Off, which starts May 21 through to June 8. 

With two of the main schedules relating to a 45 day repair schedule for ET-124 – which was aiming for a May 11 launch date – and swapping with the next tank set to fly (ET-117) – leading to a June 18-21 NET, NASA will be creating a new manifest based around the recently announced June 8 NET (No Earlier Than) launch target for Atlantis’ upcoming mission.

‘We’re letting the work drive the schedule,’ said shuttle manager Wayne Hale. ‘We sent out the potential manifests for review to all the parts of the Space Shuttle Program (SSP).

‘We’re coming back Monday afternoon to review what people think of that, but it depends entirely on when we get these ET repairs done and when we launch STS-117.

‘That is the first part of flying the rest of the flights this year.’

**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**

Should STS-117 launch in the June window, NASA will be aiming to follow up with the long-awaited launch of Endeavour, her first flight in almost five years, on STS-118. This in turn would set up the possibility of two more flights before the end of the year – should smooth processing flows allow. 

‘Flying four flights is not outside the realm of possibility,’ added Hale. ‘But we want to do this in a safe and orderly manner and we’ll just see how it works out.’

Aiding that process is likely to involve the swapping of some missions between the orbiters. This will be evaluated at the meeting, and won’t kick in until three flights time.

‘We have an evaluation to switch one flight from Atlantis to Discovery – that what we are going to evaluate (on Monday),’ Hale noted. ‘That flight is STS-120, which we’re considering moving to Discovery.

‘That would take Discovery’s payload from the next flight – which is the Columbus module – to Atlantis, which potentially could launch in December to give us four flights this calendar year – although that remains to be seen.

‘This would leave the subsequent flight of the Japanese module on Atlantis’ previously planned STS-123 – (which will move from Atlantis to Endeavour).’

Further articles will follow. Please refer to the live update pages on L2 (for in-depth coverage) and on Atlantis’ section (open to all).

Below is a guideline based on a number of manifest options which will be under consideration by NASA on Monday. This guideline is based on four flights for 2007. UPDATED: The below dates are based on source information today. UPDATE 3: Now official:


May 12 (TBD) – Progress M-60 (25P) 
June 8 – STS-117 (13A) – Atlantis – S3/S4
[July  (TBD) – STS-318 (Rescue STS-117) – Endeavour]
August 9 – 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 20 – STS-120 (10A) – Discovery – Node 2 ‘Harmony’
November (TBD) – ATV-1 ‘Jules Verne’
[December 2 (TBD) – STS-320 (Rescue STS-120) – Atlantis]
December 6 – 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 – 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 – 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)]

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