Monday, May 11, 2009

Live at KSC: Atlantis Crew Headed to Launch Pad

Seven astronauts are on their way to space shuttle Atlantis, less than four hours before a planned liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at 2:01 p.m.

The crew is led by mission commander Scott "Scooter" Altman, who is making his fourth shuttle flight. His pilot, Gregory "Ray J." Johnson is making his first flight.

Mission specialists John Grunsfeld and Mike Massimono are veterans, while while Mike Good, Drew Feustel and Megan McArthur are first-time flyers.

The crew boarded NASA's silver Astrovan just after 10:15 a.m., escorted by armed personnel in vehicles and a chopper. They'll be at the 195-foot level of launch pad 39A, ready to enter Atlantis for launch, within a half-hour.

Countdown clocks picked up from a planned hold at T minus three hours at 10:11 a.m.

IMAGE NOTE: The Astrovan, holding the seven-member crew of Atlantis, is seen just after pausing outside the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. Cell phone photo by reporter James Dean.

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