Atlantis Launch Still on for Friday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., May 12 (UPI) — The Friday afternoon launch of the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis remains on schedule, NASA staff in Florida said Wednesday.

Countdown clocks at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center were activated at 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, setting the timer for the 2:20 p.m. Friday blastoff of Atlantis on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station orbiting above Earth.

“From a space shuttle program and ISS program standpoint, we’re ready to launch Atlantis and get this mission under way,” said Mike Moses, chairman of the pre-launch mission management team at Kennedy that gave a unanimous “go” for liftoff.

Launch Director Mike Leinbach said the launch staff had not come across any issues that would prevent an on-time liftoff.

Atlantis’s astronauts spent the day relaxing while technicians at Launch Pad 39A loaded the orbiter’s power reactant and storage distribution system, which supplies super-cold propellants to the vehicle’s three fuel cells and life-support system during flight.

Weather-wise, a high-pressure system was expected to hold over Florida for the remainder of the week. Other than a low cloud ceiling, the forecast is for a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time, NASA said.

During the STS-132 mission, Atlantis and its six astronauts will transport an integrated cargo carrier and a Russian-built mini research module to the space station.

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