Atlantis Launch Date is Officially Set

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 6 (UPI) — NASA managers have cleared space shuttle Atlantis for its final mission into space following a flight readiness review at the Kennedy Space Center.

Officials said Atlantis is to begin its 12-day, STS-132 flight to the International Space Station with a 2:20 p.m. EDT launch May 14.

NASA said the flight readiness review involved senior space agency and contractor managers assessing the risks associated with the mission and determining whether the shuttle and space center’s equipment, support systems and personnel are ready.

STS-132 is the third of the last five shuttle missions. Two flights remain until the retirement of the shuttle fleet. The space agency said the STS-133 and STS-134 launches are targeted for September and November, in that order.

The six astronauts aboard Atlantis will deliver the Russian-built Mini Research Module-1, also known as Rassvet (dawn in Russian) to the station. The flight also will transport critical spare parts and cargo, including six new solar array batteries and Ku-band antenna systems. During the mission, three spacewalks are planned to put those spare parts on the station.

NASA said Cmdr. Ken Ham and his crew are to arrive at Kennedy at approximately 7 p.m. Monday for final launch preparations. Joining Ham will be Pilot Tony Antonelli and astronauts Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers.

STS-132 will be Atlantis’ 32nd mission and the 34th shuttle flight dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.

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