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NASA Updates Shuttle Atlantis Target Launch Date, Crew Rehearsal


WASHINGTON -- NASA is targeting Nov. 16 for the launch of space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-129 mission from the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Managers for NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate and Exploration Systems Mission Directorate met Monday and decided to adjust Atlantis’ target launch date to optimize the agency’s ability to launch both Ares I-X and Atlantis before the end of the year. The same launch team at Kennedy is supporting both the shuttle and the flight test of the Ares I-X rocket, which is targeted to lift off on Oct. 27. Ares I-X is scheduled to roll out to its launch pad at 12:01 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

Atlantis’ new target launch date will give Ares I-X launch opportunities Oct. 27, 28 and 29. NASA has yet to schedule Atlantis’ new target liftoff date on the Eastern Range.

The change to Atlantis’ targeted launch will affect the launch countdown dress rehearsal for the shuttle’s six astronauts. The astronauts arrived at Kennedy on Monday for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test and related training. The simulated countdown has been rescheduled to Nov. 3. The astronauts will practice emergency escape and other related training while they are at Kennedy this week and return there Nov. 2 to conclude their rehearsal work.

The agency’s Flight Readiness Review meeting for STS-129 is set for Oct. 29. NASA will schedule an official launch date for Atlantis following that meeting.


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