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NASA sets Dec. 7 launch date for STS-116
Posted: Thu, Nov 30, 2006, 7:17 AM ET (1217 GMT)
STS-116: logo (NASA) Shuttle managers confirmed late Wednesday the December 7th launch date for the next shuttle mission, pending resolution of two problems on the station. The shuttle Discovery is scheduled to lift off at 9:35 pm EST December 7 (0235 GMT December 8) on the STS-116 mission to the ISS. The main purpose of the mission is to install a new truss segment on the station and begin the process of reconfiguring the station's solar panels to accommodate future launches of additional segments. There are no pending issues with the shuttle that could delay the launch, although managers are keeping tabs on two ISS issues that could potentially delay the launch. One is the aborted reboost of the station's orbit, and the other is a problem with drive control motors that allow the station's solar panels to track the Sun. The shuttle's launch window runs through December 26, although any launch after December 19 would require the shuttle to remain in orbit over New Years, causing potential complications for shuttle computer systems that do time accounting differently than their ground and station counterparts.
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