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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Feb 21, 2006 1:09:24 GMT -6
NASA plans to park space shuttle Atlantis in 2008
With just 17 or so flights left on the shuttle manifest before the program is terminated in 2010, NASA's three remaining orbiters can only expect to fly about five missions each. As it turns out, NASA now plans to retire Atlantis in 2008, after five flights, rather than put it through a required overhaul and to "fly out" the remaining half-dozen missions on the manifest with Discovery and Endeavour.
But shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told Kennedy Space Center employees today that Atlantis will not be given to a museum, at least not right away. Instead, the space shuttle will be used for spare parts to help keep Discovery and Endeavour healthy through the end of the program.
"Atlantis will be coming due for an OMDP (orbiter maintenance down period) in the '08 time frame," Hale said. "And we looked the manifest and laid it out and we believe we can fly the '08, '09 and '10 time frame with Discovery and Endeavour.
"Discovery just came out of OMDP and Endeavour is just about to come out of OMDP. So it looks like the right thing to do is not to put Atlantis through another OMDP, which would get it ready to go fly maybe just at the very end, in 2010, but rather use it was a parts donor, if that's the word, for the other vehicles.