Weather 70 percent ‘go’ for space shuttle Endeavour launch

April 29th, 2011 - 9:45 pm ICT by BNO News  

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (BNO NEWS) — NASA has said it is expecting a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for Friday’s space shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The space shuttle Endeavour is expected to launch on its last flight into space at 3.47 p.m. Eastern time on Friday. A storm cell was still moving through the Kennedy Space Center area on Friday morning, but it is expected to pass before the launch.

“Once [the storm cell] passes, forecasters continue to predict a 70 percent chance of favorable weather for today’s launch,” NASA said in an update. “The only concerns are low cloud ceilings and high crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility,” it added.

As of Friday morning there were no technical concerns, and tanking operations already began at 6.22 a.m. Eastern and concluded three hours later at 9.24 a.m. Eastern. Endeavour’s external tank is now loaded with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

As of 10.30 a.m. Eastern, the NASA countdown clock has entered a planned 2.5-hour hold at T-3 hours, during which the tank will remain in a ’stable replenish’ mode, the Close Out Crew will prepare the White Room for astronaut arrival, and the Final Inspection Team will conduct its inspections.

Endeavour’s launch is followed closely for a number of reasons, including the expected attendance of U.S. President Barack Obama and Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is still recovering from being shot in the head during an assassination attempt in January.

But it is also the last ever launch of Endeavour before its retirement, which it will spend at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Space shuttle Atlantis will fly the last planned shuttle mission in June, after it will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex.

The crew members for space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-134 mission are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.

During the 14-day mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre.

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