Thursday, March 10, 2011

Endeavour Roll On Despite Daytime Rain

NASA expects rainy weather to clear this evening and aims to roll Endeavour out to Kennedy Space Center's launch pad 39A in advance of its 25th and final flight.

Running 24 hours late as a result of a forecast that turned out to be right on the mark, Endeavour is slated to begin edging out of the 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building at 8 p.m.

Engineers will be called to their stations in Firing Room 4 of the Launch Control Center at 4 p.m.

The rollout was delayed 24 hours after forecasters called for a chance of stormy weather in the overnight hours earlier today. Thunderstorms with lightning were popping up around central Florida by 7:30 p.m. last night and heavy rains started about midnight.

The rain is expected to continue through the day today. There's a 90 percent chance of rain and 80 percent chance of lightning through 4 p.m. today. But the probabilities drop to 60 percent for rain and 30 percent for lightning between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Between 8 p.m. and midnight, there's only a 20 percent chance of rain and a 10 percent chance of lightning. Clear weather with no chance of rain or lightning is predicted for midnight to 8 a.m. Friday.

The 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron produces the daily weather forecast for the KSC and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station areas.

Endeavour and a crew of six astronauts are scheduled to launch April 19 on a mission to haul a large particle physics experiment up to the International Space Station. NASA has about a week of padding in that schedule and preps are on track to launch as scheduled.

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