Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Tower Rollback Clears Way For Launch Thursday

LIVE IMAGES: Refresh this page to see the latest still images from a video feed at the Delta II launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (left) and the Ar Force 45th Space Wing weather channel .

A United Launch Alliance Delta II Heavy rocket is poised tonight for launch after a towering gantry was rolled away from the vehicle at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The 12-story rocket and its payload -- a NASA spacecraft that will map the gravitational field of the moon -- are slated to blast off from Launch Complex 17B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 8:37 a.m. EDT. A second launch opportunity would come at 9:16 a.m. if need be.

The forecast for launch is iffy. Meteorologists say there is a 60 percent chance thunderstorms or electrically charged clouds could sweep into the launch area, prohibiting liftoff.

The Mobile Service Tower at Launch Complex 17B was backed away from the vehicle late tonight, clearing the way for a launch countdown to pick up early Thursday.

The launch will be the 110th and final scheduled launch of a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Join us at 7 a.m. Thursday for a webcast that will stream live on the web sites of Florida Today as well as the 6 a.m. start-up of a live interactive launch countdown blog right here in The Flame Trench.

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