Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Live at KSC: Q&A with Atlantis crew

Six Atlantis astronauts this morning will gather at the shuttle launch pad to field questions from reporters and discuss their 11-day mission to haul spare parts to the International Space Station.

You can watch the 9:40 a.m. event live -- click here to open a NASA TV video player.

Also this morning, shuttle program managers are meeting by video conference to discuss the mission's readiness for a targeted Nov. 16 launch at 2:28 p.m. The meeting is expected to continue Wednesday.

An official launch date will be set at an executive-level flight readiness review scheduled Oct. 29 at KSC.

The Atlantis crew today is finishing up some pre-launch training that includes a review of emergency launch pad escape procedures. The schedule was abbreviated by this morning's move of the Ares I-X rocket to launch pad 39B.

Some KSC personnel working the rocket's rollout were unavailable to support the shuttle's countdown dress rehearsal, so it was rescheduled for Nov. 3.

The crew plans to return to Houston today, after flying in Monday.

Charlie Hobaugh leads the Atlantis crew. He'll be making his third trip into space, the first leading a crew after two tours as a pilot.

Other veterans include mission specialists Mike Foreman, the lead spacewalker, and Leland Melvin, the lead robotics officer. Both are making their second spaceflight.

First-time flyers include mission specialists Randy Bresnik and Bobby Satcher, both spacewalkers, and pilot Barry Wilmore.

Former KSC engineer Nicole Stott will join the crew for the ride home, ending a three-month stay on the space station.

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