Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Countdown to final shuttle launch under way

The countdown is under way to the Friday launch of Atlantis on NASA's 135th and final shuttle mission.

On time at 1 p.m., clocks at Kennedy Space Center began ticking backward from the T minus 43-hour mark.

The three-day countdown includes seven built-in holds, lasting from 10 minutes to more than 13 hours, that allow launch teams to handle weather or technical issues that crop up.

Launch is targeted for 11:26 a.m. Friday, the middle of a 10-minute window, weather permitting.

Current forecasts show a 60 percent chance of stormy conditions that could prevent a Friday launch.

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