As the space shuttle prepares to resume the International Space Station’s construction this month, Mission Operations Space Shuttle Manager Paul Hill is available by satellite 6 to 8 a.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 18, to discuss the job ahead. Media interested in interviewing Hill should contact Debbie Sharp at 281-483-4942 no later than 4 p.m. CDT Thursday, Aug. 17.

With intricate robotics, frequent spacewalks and the assembly of huge components, the series of flights to complete the station over the next four years will be as challenging and complex as any in space history. Those flights begin with the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-115 as early as Aug. 27. Managers are meeting this week to set the final launch date.

Hill manages NASA’s support for shuttle operations, including the planning, training and conduct of all missions by the flight crew and Mission Control, Houston. To complete station assembly, NASA will perform more spacewalks than in all prior spaceflights. Almost one-half million pounds of new components will be launched. The station’s electrical power will quadruple, and its living space will double, equaling that of a five-bedroom house. More than 100 flights by five types of spacecraft, launched from four nations, will have helped build the complex.

During Atlantis’ mission, a 17.5-ton, bus-sized segment will be added to the station’s girder-like truss backbone. The new piece will include a second set of giant solar arrays, batteries and associated electronics. The crew will perform three spacewalks to hook up the new pieces and prepare them for operation.

Late this year, another shuttle flight will rewire the orbiting complex — without interrupting the power flow to any systems — to bring the new electrical supplies online. Early next year, a third mission will install another set of solar arrays, batteries and electronics.

Those missions will set the stage for the addition of new laboratories from Europe and Japan, which will far surpass any previous research capability in space.

The interviews with Hill will be carried live on the NASA TV Media Channel and analog satellite. The analog coordinates are: AMC-6, at 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 5C, 3800 MHz, vertical polarization, with audio at 6.8 MHz. The Media Channel is available on an MPEG-2 digital C-band signal via satellite AMC-6, 72 degrees west longitude, transponder 17C, 4040 MHz, vertical polarization. In Alaska and Hawaii, it’s on AMC-7, 137 degrees west longitude, transponder 18C, at 4060 MHz, horizontal polarization.

For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and digital downlink information, visit:

For information about STS-115 and its crew, visit: