At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida today, the four Atlantis astronauts set to fly the STS-135 mission begin their launch countdown rehearsal and related training. After the crew arrived at Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility Monday evening in two T-38 jets, Commander Chris Ferguson and Pilot Doug Hurley practiced landings in the Shuttle Training Aircraft.
Today’s full day of activities include meetings in the Launch Control Center, fire suppression training, range safety and security briefings and emergency escape training in an M113 armored personnel carrier near Launch Pad 39A.
Technicians working at the launch pad today are expected to remove a suspected leaky main fuel valve in Atlantis’ main engine No. 3.
On Monday, the final payload installation of the Space Shuttle Program was completed as technicians finished stowing the STS-135 payload bound for the International Space Station inside Atlantis’ cargo bay. The payload includes the Rafaello multi-purpose logistics module carrying supplies and spare parts for the station. Today technicians will work on payload mechanical and electrical attachments.
And on Atlantis’ external fuel tank, other technicians are continuing high-tech X-ray scans of 50 support beams, called stringers, on the tank’s intertank section that faces Atlantis. So far, no issues have been detected.