Atlantis on Track for November Launch

STS-129 Mission Specialist Mike Foreman
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida technicians are back in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 today performing final checks on space shuttle Atlantis. The vehicle is set to move, or rollover, to the Vehicle Assembly Building tomorrow with first motion scheduled for 7 a.m. EDT.

In the VAB, the external tank and solid rocket boosters, now secured in place, also are undergoing final checks and testing.

After Atlantis is joined with the tank and boosters, the giant crawler-transporter will be rolled under the mobile launcher platform. The entire stack now is scheduled to roll out to Launch Pad 39A on Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, the STS-129 crew members will be reviewing deorbit burn procedures and space station systems manuals, and practicing heat shield repair techniques.

The astronauts are scheduled to fly to Kennedy on Oct. 19 to participate in the three-day Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT. Typically held prior to launch, TCDT gives the crew an opportunity to check the fit of their spacesuits, practice emergency evacuation procedures at the launch pad, review firefighting methods, and participate in briefings on security and range safety.

Preparations for STS-129 Mission in Full Swing
The STS-129 mission will be commanded by Charlie Hobaugh and piloted by Barry Wilmore. Mission Specialists are Robert Satcher, Mike Foreman, Randy Bresnik and Leland Melvin. Wilmore, Satcher and Bresnik will be making their first trips to space.

Atlantis and its crew will deliver parts to the space station, including a spare gyroscope. The mission will feature three spacewalks.

Atlantis also will return station crew member Nicole Stott to Earth and is slated to be the final space shuttle crew rotation flight.

Launch of Atlantis on the STS-129 mission is targeted for 4:04 p.m. EST Nov. 12.