NASA just gave United Launch Alliance a green light to move a powerful Atlas rocket out to its oceanside launch pad, setting the stage for the planned launch Friday of the Juno spacecraft and a six-year sojourn to Jupiter.
The 197-foot rocket and the Juno spacecraft are scheduled to blast off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:34 a.m. Friday. Th launch window that day will extend through 12:43 p.m. The weather forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather.
The Atlas and its payload should reach the pad surface at complex 41 about 10 a.m. today. The rollout is scheduled to begin at the top of the hour.
Launch managers still are keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Emily, which now is meandering just south of Hispaniola and is expected to resume a west-northwest track later this morning. The storm is expected to be out over the Atlantic Ocean due east of Cape Canaveral early Sunday.