Thu, Jul 05, 2007
Endeavour -- And Teacher-Turned-Astronaut -- Almost Ready To
NASA's prolonged game of musical orbiters came to an end
Tuesday, as the space shuttle Atlantis -- carried on top of a
modified 747 transport -- touched down at Cape Canaveral Tuesday,
bringing the STS-117 mission to its official end.
The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft touched down on the shuttle landing
strip at approximately 0825 EDT Tuesday morning, after taking off
from Fort Campbell, KY. The SCA also made stops in Amarillo, TX and
Omaha, NE during its three-day trip from Edwards Air Force Base in
As ANN reported, Atlantis
touched down at Edwards June 22, after a two-week construction
mission to the International Space Station. Bad weather in Florida
prevented the shuttle from landing back at Kennedy Space Center --
the preferred option, as NASA estimates it has cost over $1.7
million to transport Atlantis across the country.
NASA plans to send Atlantis back to the ISS in December, four
months after the next shuttle mission. Endeavour, now undergoing
assembly, is scheduled to launch to the space station August 7.
The STS-118 mission will deliver the S5 truss to the station. It
will also mark the first flight of Mission Specialist Barbara
Morgan -- a teacher-turned-astronaut, whose association with NASA
began more than 20 years ago when she was selected as the backup
for Christa McAuliffe. McAuliffe, along with six others, was lost
in the Challenger explosion in January 1986.
Morgan forego her teaching career in 1998, to concentrate on
becoming an astronaut.
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