Friday, August 19, 2005

STS-121 'officially' pushed back to March '06.

This has been rumoured for about a week now, that the next shuttle launch wouldn't occur during the upcoming September and November windows. I think the most surprising news here is that NASA is mulling whether or not to fly Discovery (again) for STS-121, then fly Atlantis for STS-115. Atlantis was originally supposed to fly 121. Souces say that they are going to fly Discovery again so that Atlantis doesn't have to fly a back to back mission profile for STS-115 and STS-116, two missions which would be flown on a tight schedule because they are ISS construction missions. 115, in fact, be the first actual ISS construction mission since Endeavour flew STS-113 in November/December 2002, bringing up the P1 Truss. Atlantis would have had to fly the missions pretty much back to back because 115 and 116 are going to deliver the P3/P4 and P5 Trusses respectively, and one wouldn't want to leave the station 'lopsided' for a long period of time, in my mind.

*Edit: Acutally looks like it's shaping up to be a Discovery/Atlantis/Discovery/Atlantis rotation for the next 4 missions. Where is Endeavour in all this? It's the lightest of all the shuttles and, so you would think, would be perfect for lugging the heavy ISS hardware up there.

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