Technicians will finish testing Atlantis' waste collection system, or toilet, this weekend and ground teams are getting ready for the final part of launch dress rehearsal known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT.
Today, the STS-129 mission's six astronauts are involved in their final bench review of flight hardware at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and they will conduct contingency abort simulation training in the motion base simulator.
The crew will fly to Kennedy Monday afternoon for the completion of TCDT. During their two-days at Kennedy they will participate in a simulated launch countdown where they practice liftoff procedures inside the shuttle. Before returning to Johnson on Tuesday, crew members will practice emergency pad evacuation.
On Oct. 29, NASA managers announced the official launch date and time of Nov. 16 at 2:28 p.m. EST for Atlantis' flight to the space station. The only deviation to this date would be if the planned Nov. 14 launch of an Atlas V rocket from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is delayed. Since the Atlas team has reserved the Eastern Range for Nov. 14 and 15, this means the shuttle's liftoff will move to no earlier than 2:02 p.m. on Nov. 17.