Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shuttle Work Continues After Shutdown Averted

NASA is plunging ahead with shuttle operations at Kennedy Space Center in the wake of an 11th-hour congressional agreement to keep the federal government running at least through Friday.

White House and congressional negotiators are working on a tentative agreement to fund the government through September while cutting $38.5 billion in spending. They also agreed to keep the government running through at least Friday while the details of the deal are being worked out.

NASA is contacting civil servants and contractors so they know to report for their next scheduled work days at their normal time as a result.

Events being staged to celebrate the 30th anniversary Tuesday of the first shuttle launch are expected to proceed as scheduled. A ceremony outside Orbiter Processing Facility No. 1 is slated for 1 p.m. Tuesday, and there will be a gathering at 4 p.m. at the KSC Visitor Complex. NASA Administration Charlie Bolden is expected to be at KSC to announce where NASA's three shuttle orbiters will be displayed in retirement. A media advisory is expected to be released by NASA Headquarters in Washington no later than Monday morning.

The effort to prep Discovery for retirement is continuing this weekend in Orbiter Processing Facility Bay No. 2. Technicians are draining toxic rocket propellants from the shuttle's twin maneuvering engineers, nose-and-tail steering thrusters and auxiliary power units.

Launch processing teams will resume preparations for Endeavour's 25th and final flight on Monday. The shuttle and six astronauts are scheduled to launch from pad 39A on April 29.

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