Sunday, May 10, 2009

Live In KSC: Weather Is 90 Percent "Go"

LIVE IMAGES: Refresh this page for updates and the latest still images from cameras at Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A and the Air Force 45th Space Wing's weather channel.

Countdown to the planned launch Monday of shuttle Atlantis is moving ahead without significant problems and the weather outlook is near-perfect.

Seven astronauts will suit up and head to Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A early Monday, aiming to blast off at 2:01 p.m. -- 20 minutes into a 62-minute window.

The preferred launch time was selected for optimal propulsion system performance on the nine-minute climb into orbit. It gives the astronauts the most safety margin in the unlikely event that a systems failure prompts an unprecedented emergency landing attempt.

NASA Test Director Charlie Blackwell-Thomas said launch preparations are proceeding without problems. Overnight, the sound suppression system at the pad was filled and technicians performed main engine checkouts.

"We are nearly ready to fly," she said.

The weather forecast for launch calls for conditions that are expected to be acceptable for an on-time liftoff. Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters of the Air Force 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron said the probability of good weather is 90 percent.

"The weather is looking very good for launch," she said.

Check out the details HERE.

The Air Force 45 Space Wing, which provides range safety services for all launches from Florida's Space Coast, is clearing a Launch Hazard Area off the coast of Cape Canaveral as well as airspace around the Kennedy Space Center.

Check out a map of the Atlantic Ocean danger zone HERE.

And here is a map of restricted airspace: HERE.

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