NASA is planning to launch four space shuttles before the end of the year, Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for space operations, said on Wednesday.
NASA managers had been pondering whether to finish repairing a tank and use it for Atlantis' mission or replace it with another tank. But they said they were pleased with the progress of repairs that had been made.
Gerstenmaier said Atlantis will return to the launch pad on May 6, after its hail-damaged fuel tank has been repaired.
He said the first launch will not be made until June 8, while the next one will probably be in August.
Atlantis was toofficer lift off last month, but the launch was put on hold after golf ball-sized hail caused thousands of dings on the fuel tank's foam insulation.
The fuel tank has about 2,500 dings, 1,600 of which may need to be filled in with new foam.