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NASA to classify shuttle launch times
Posted: Tue, Mar 19, 2002, 10:32 AM ET (1532 GMT)
STS-110 Atlantis rolls out to pad 39B (NASA/KSC) NASA will not release exact launch times for future shuttle missions until 24 hours before liftoff, the agency announced Monday. The agency will instead only provide a four-hour window for the launch: in the case of the next shuttle mission, STS-110, NASA will only say the launch is scheduled for between 2 and 6 pm EST (1900 to 2300 GMT) April 4. The move was made because of security concerns in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, according to NASA officials. Exact launch times for the two previous post-September 11 shuttle missions were provided in advanced because they had already been released. The effectiveness of this policy is questionable, though, since nearly all future shuttle missions will fly to the International Space Station, and must thus lift off during relatively short launch windows that can be computed well in advance of the launch day.
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