At the conclusion of the Flight Readiness Review held at Kennedy Space
Center today, NASA mission managers decided the Space Shuttle Atlantis is
ready for launch April 4 to the International Space Station (ISS). Mission
STS-110 marks the beginning of building a framework aboard the ISS that will
support power and cooling systems for future international laboratories.

Mission STS-110 will launch between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. EST. The precise
launch time will be announced approximately 24 hours prior to liftoff.
Atlantis is carrying the first section of the station’s cross-beam truss
structure, a segment designated S0 (S-zero) that includes tracks and a
flatcar that will become the first space railway.

“This second shuttle flight in as many months will continue what already has
been a record-setting and spectacular year,” Space Shuttle Program Manager
Ron Dittemore said. “This flight is every bit as complex and challenging as
the Hubble maintenance flight completed a few weeks ago. It starts an
ambitious year of station missions, delivering more than 50 tons of
components by year’s end, and begins a new phase of assembly destined to
enhance what already is an unprecedented facility.”

The 44-foot S0 truss is the centerpiece of nine truss segments that
eventually will stretch 356 feet, the longest structure ever built in space,
and support almost an acre of solar panels and cooling radiators for future
European and Japanese research laboratories. Mounted on the S0 truss in
Alantis’ cargo bay is the Mobile Transporter, a rail car that will travel
almost 100 yards along the completed structure, moving the station’s
Canadian robotic arm within reach of maintenance and assembly work.

Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Bloomfield will command Atlantis, and Stephen
Frick (Cmdr., USN) will serve as pilot. Mission specialists will be Rex
Walheim (Lt. Col., USAF), Ellen Ochoa, Lee Morin (Capt. USN), Jerry Ross,
and Steven Smith. Ross will be making a record seventh shuttle flight,
becoming the most-launched U.S. astronaut in history. Working in teams of
two, Ross-Morin and Smith-Walheim, the astronauts will conduct four
spacewalks, taking on the appearance of high-rise construction workers as
they bolt girders, hook up electrical lines and install flood lights to
assemble the truss segment. Atlantis will be the first Space Shuttle to
visit the International Space Station’s Expedition Four crew – Commander
Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz – who have
been aboard the complex since December 2001.

Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., April 15.
STS-110 marks the 25th flight for Atlantis and the 109th in Shuttle history.