NASA gives 8 June Shuttle flight go-ahead

LAUNCH NASA's 30-31 May Flight Readiness Review (FRR) last week approved the 19:38 local time launch on 8 June of Space Shuttle Atlantis for its STS-117 mission to the International Space Station. During the 11-day mission three spacewalks will see a 17,000kg (37,500lb) segment of the station's girder-like truss structure installed and the deployment of a set of solar arrays. The arrays will increase the ISS's power capability for the new European and Japanese space agencies' science modules to be delivered at year-end and early in 2008. Atlantis will transport new ISS crew member Clayton Anderson to the station. He will replace current NASA ISS crew member Sunita Williams, who will return on Atlantis. The first FRR for STS-117 was held on 27-28 February. A hail storm on 26 February damaged Atlantis's external fuel tank and delayed the planned mid-March launch.

Flight hires

APPOINTMENTS Flight has made a series of appointments as part of an expansion of its Washington DC office. Stephen Trimble has been promoted to Americas managing editor and takes overall responsibility for Flight's coverage of North and South America. Mark Rockwell has joined the team as senior editor, while Megan Kuhn takes on the role of reporter from 25 June.

Ryanair incident

CLARIFICATION Last week we reported information circulated by the US National Transportation Safety Board regarding an incident involving a Ryanair Boeing 737-800 on 13 May.  We are happy to clarify that the aircraft did not suffer a loss of its electronic flight instrument displays. Ryanair says one of the three separate sets of air speed and altitude indicators in the cockpit indicated an error and as a precaution the crew returned to London Stansted. Contrary to our report, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Board does not intend to investigate the incident, but Ryanair has reported the matter to the Irish Aviation Authority as is normal in such cases.

Source: Flight International