Dwayne C. Brown

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-1726)

James Hartsfield

Johnson Space Center, TX

(Phone: 281/483-5111)

RELEASE: 00-56

Following a review of flight readiness, Space Shuttle
managers today confirmed April 24 as the launch date for Atlantis
on a mission that will continue the development of the orbiting
International Space Station and usher in a new era of Shuttle

Atlantis’ liftoff is planned for approximately 4:15 p.m. EDT,
within a 10-minute launch window. The precise launch time and
window could vary slightly and will be established about 24 hours
ahead of liftoff to optimize the Shuttle’s performance.

“Atlantis’ last flight in space was a visit to the Mir space
station,” Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore said. “Since
then, Atlantis has had more than 100 modifications and
improvements made, making it the most up-to-date Shuttle ever.”

In recognition of Easter Weekend, provisions will be made for
launch team personnel to honor family and personal obligations.

Atlantis’ mission on STS-101 will be the first flight of a
new Shuttle “glass cockpit” and more than a dozen other Shuttle
improvements. Atlantis will dock with the International Space
Station and the seven-member crew will unload more than a ton of
cargo, performing several maintenance tasks onboard to ensure the
station remains in good condition as its orbital assembly
continues later this year. The crew also will conduct one
spacewalk to perform work on the exterior of the station.

Atlantis is planned to spend almost six days docked with the
station before returning to Earth with a landing planned at
Kennedy Space Center at 11:23 a.m. EDT May 4.