Monday, May 11, 2009

Live at KSC: Crew Ready to Board Atlantis

Seven Atlantis astronauts have arrived at the 195-foot level of launch pad 39A, from which they will enter the shuttle from an access arm called the "white room."

A close-out crew will help the astronauts strap into their seats for launch, a process that will take about an hour.

The crew includes mission commander Scott Altman, pilot Gregory Johnson and mission specialists Drew Feustel, Mike Good, John Grunsfeld, Mike Massimino and Megan McArthur.

The crew cabin hatch is scheduled to be closed just after noon, about two hours before a planned 2:01 p.m. launch to the Hubble Space Telescope.

The crew visited Atlantis on its launch pad three times before today.

The first was last September, before a planned October launch was postponed because of a computer failure on the Hubble observatory.

The crew visited twice in April for some refresher training on how to escape the pad in case of emergency, and to review the Hubble payload.

Astronaut Kay Hire, a former Kennedy Space Center employee, is the lead Astronaut Support Personnel on Atlantis. She is helping the crew get seated and making sure cockpit switches are in proper their positions and that communication lines between the orbtier and ground are working well.

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