HOUSTON – NASA will discuss the next space shuttle mission during a day-long series of media briefings from the Johnson Space Center beginning at 8 a.m. CST, Thursday, Feb. 15. The briefings will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s Internet homepage. Questions also will be taken from participating NASA sites.

Space shuttle Atlantis’ 11-day mission, designated STS-117, is targeted for launch Mar. 15. The mission will continue construction of the International Space Station, launching a third set of solar arrays, batteries and associated electronics to power the station. The crew will install and extend the new set of arrays and retract the second half of another set. These tasks continue the solar array work begun during the final two shuttle missions of 2006. The completed International Space Station will have four solar arrays.

Following the briefings, members of the shuttle crew will be available for a series of round-robin interviews. Media planning to attend or participate in the interviews must contact the Johnson newsroom, 281-483-5111, by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Atlantis will be commanded by Marine Col. Rick Sturckow. Air Force Col. Lee Archambault will be pilot. The mission specialists are retired Army Col. Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, John “Danny” Olivas and Jim Reilly.

The schedule of briefings are (all times Central):

8 a.m. — Space Shuttle and Space Station Program Overview
9:30 a.m. — STS-117 Mission Overview
11 a.m. — NASA TV Video File
11:30 a.m. — STS-117 Spacewalk Overview
1 p.m. — STS-117 Crew News Conference

For NASA TV streaming video, schedules, and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For the latest information about the STS-117 mission and its crew, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle