Thursday, July 07, 2011

Shuttle launch weather forecast still tough

The latest weather forecast for Friday's planned 11:26 a.m. launch of the last shuttle mission remains a challenge.

There's a 70 percent chance that a combination of rain, clouds and thunderstorms could postpone the launch.

Read the official forecast here.

The odds of bad weather drop to 60 percent Saturday and 40 percent Sunday.

NASA at 10 a.m. today will update the status of the countdown and the forecast in a briefing featuring Jeff Spaulding, NASA test director, Joe Delai, STS-135 payload manager, and Kathy Winters, the shuttle weather officer.

Click the NASA TV box at right to watch it live. Then stay tuned for an 11:45 a.m. briefing on NASA's plans for "what's next" after the shuttle in human spaceflight. Panelists include Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator, Bobby Braun, NASA chief technologist, Doug Cooke, associate administrator Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, and Mike Suffredini, NASA International Space Station Program manager.

Kennedy Space Center teams plan to unveil Atlantis on its launch pad today at 2 p.m., weather permitting, when they swing open the pad's rotating service tower.

Launch managers will meet for a weather briefing at 1:30 a.m. Friday before giving a go-ahead to fuel Atlantis for launch.

On the 135th and final shuttle mission, scheduled to last 12 days, Atlantis and four astronauts plan to deliver supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station.

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