Monday, July 04, 2011

Final Shuttle Crew Headed To Kennedy

The Atlantis astronauts are heading to Kennedy Space Center today as NASA gears up for the start of the final launch countdown for the 30-year-old space shuttle program.

Mission commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and two mission specialists -- Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim -- are scheduled to arrive at the Shuttle Landing Facility at 2:45 p.m. Ferguson and his crew are expected to make statements to reporters, photographers and a NASA TV audience.

You can watch the arrival live here in The Flame Trench. Click the NASA TV box on the right to launch our NASA TV viewer and live coverage.

The Atlantis liftoff on NASA's 135th shuttle mission remains scheduled for 11:26 a.m. Friday. The astronauts aim to haul a year's worth of food and other supplies to the International Space Station, bridging the gap between the end of the shuttle program and the first launches next year of U.S. commercial resupply missions.

The launch countdown is slated to start at 1 p.m. Tuesday. A pre-countdown status briefing will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday. An on-time launch would lead to a touch down back at KSC on July 20 -- the 42nd anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the image of the Atlantis astronauts. From right to left are mission commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley, mission specialist Sandra Magnus and mission specialist Rex Walheim. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.

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