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Thursday afternoon found the astronaut's at the launch pad receiving instructions on the emergency slidewire basket system that could safely glide them to the ground, if necessary.
Also in this practice session, the crew members made a final inspection of the orbiter's payload bay to confirm its readiness for flight.
This morning the mission STS-117 flight crew met with the media.
Commander Rick Sturckow opened the briefing by saying, "It's good to be down in Florida for the dry countdown and our crew is very excited. This means we're getting close to launch and we're going to be ready to go."
The astronauts answered questions about their mission roles and the challenges they'll face in space while continuing construction on the International Space Station.
When asked about the team's readiness for this complex mission, Sturckow answered, "We've already achieved a very good proficiency. We've had excellent training for about the last nine months."
The STS-117 astronauts arrived at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility yesterday to participate in a full launch dress rehearsal known as the terminal countdown demonstration test, typically held a few weeks before launch.
The flight of Atlantis to the International Space Station has been targeted for March 15. During the 11-day mission, the six-member crew will install a new truss segment, retract a set of solar arrays and unfold a new set on the starboard side of the station. Lessons learned from two previous missions will provide the astronauts with new techniques and tools to perform their duties.
Commanding the 117 crew is Frederick Sturckow, a veteran of two shuttle missions (STS-88, STS-105), while Lee Archambault will be making his first flight as the shuttle's pilot. Mission Specialists James Reilly (STS-89, STS-104) and Patrick Forrester (STS-105) will be returning to the station. Steven Swanson and John Olivas, both mission specialists, join the crew for their first flight into space.
Source : NASA
At the 195-foot level on Launch Pad 39A, STS-117 crew members are briefed on the emergency egress system. From left are Mission Specialist Danny Olivas, Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault, and Mission Specialists James Reilly, Steven Swanson and Patrick Forrester. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett
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