Last Space Shuttle Launch | Live Online – NASA is on track to launch the last space shuttle mission ever on Fri., July 8 — but Mother Nature might not cooperate.
The countdown began Tuesday afternoon and is ticking down to a planned zero at 11:26 a.m. EDT (1526 GMT) on Friday, but NASA is keeping a close eye on the weather. Forecasts call for a chance of rain and thunderstorms on Friday, meaning that shuttle Atlantis’ final mission – the last ever for NASA’s iconic shuttle program after 30 years of spaceflight – might be delayed, officials said today in a news briefing here at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
“I wish I had better weather for you, a better weather briefing for you,” said shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters. “Right now, we’re going with a 60 percent chance of KSC weather prohibiting launch due to the potential for showers and isolated thunderstorms in the area.”
NASA’s preparations, for their part, are coming along nicely, with no problems apparent at the moment.
“All of our preparations for launch countdown have been completed or are in work, and we’re working no issues at this time,” said Jeremy Graeber, NASA test director. [Photos: NASA Prepares for Final Shuttle Flight]
Atlantis’ payloads, which include a year’s worth of supplies and spare parts for the International Space Station and an experiment to demonstrate robotic refueling of satellites in orbit, are also looking good, officials said.
And Atlantis’ four-astronaut crew is on site and working through their flight preparations. Commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Rex Waldheim and Sandy Magnus flew in to KSC yesterday afternoon from Houston’s Ellington Field, arriving aboard two T-38 supersonic jets.
Last Space Shuttle Launch | Live Online