NASA OKs Final Space Shuttle Launch Without Funding

Published by: Andy on 21st Jan 2011 | View all blogs by Andy
Atlantis.jpg

NASA OKs Final Space Shuttle Launch Without Funding

Though it presently does not have the funding, NASA has officially approved one final space shuttle launch.  The agency has set a target date of June 28th for the launch, when the Atlantis will make its 135th and final flight.  The shuttle and its four crew members will deliver supplies to the International Space Station and return with a faulty pump that has caused headaches for engineers.

The Atlantis mission joins a Discovery mission scheduled for February 24th and an Endeavor flight set for April as the last three remaining missions for the fleet.  Approval of the Atlantis flight allows astronauts to begin training and other aspects such as mission planning to commence for the 12-day flight.  The mission was originally scheduled as an emergency-only flight, if needed, to rescue members of the Endeavor crew.

Congress and President Obama's administration debated last year over the future of America's space program before compromising to allow one more flight, the Atlantis mission.  But Congress never approved the several hundred million dollars NASA would need to make the flight happen.  Officials are confident that the funding will be there, though they have not said where it might come from.

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