The International Space Station (ISS) will not be completed if the Space Shuttle is retired as planned in 2010, NASA has revealed. The agency has released a preliminary planning manifest for Space Shuttle missions that reveals that the next ISS assembly mission, STS 115/Atlantis, will not take place until early 2006 and that the orbiter Atlantis, one of just three craft left from the original fleet of five, could be out of action for 22 months for scheduled maintenance after this mission. This will leave only Discovery and Endeavour to complete the assembly and servicing of the ISS, before Atlantis returns, taking the fleet beyond the 2010 deadline for the Space Shuttle to be grounded as dictated by President George Bush's space exploration initiative. Discovery is also scheduled for a 14-month requalification in 2008-9, when it will be grounded. According to the manifest, 28 Shuttle missions need to be flown in 68 months to complete the ISS.



Source: Flight International