UPDATE: Atlantis Countdown Proceeds Despite Weather

UPDATE: Atlantis Countdown Proceeds Despite Weather

UPDATE: It’s about 4:45 am and NASA continues to report that they are working no technical issues that would prevent launch at 11:26 am this morning. The only issue is weather. It is overcast here at the press site next to the Vehicle Assembly Building (about 3 miles from the launch pad). The shuttle — brightly illuminated — is beautifully visible from here and one can almost believe that the weather will ultimately cooperate. But this reporter is not taking any bets. Follow us on Twittter: @spcplcyonline


Hoping that Mother Nature will give them a break, space shuttle Atlantis mission managers decided to proceed with tanking — filing the shuttle’s External Tank with fuel — despite the very gloomy weather forecast for today.

Weather has to be acceptable not only at the time of launch, but for a period afterwards in case the shuttle might need to perform a “return to launch site” abort. In that particular type of launch abort scenario, the orbiter would turn around after launch and fly back to Kennedy Space Center meaning that the visibility and other weather parameters have to be conducive to landing as well as launch.

NASA said it would reevaluate the weather again around 6:00 or 7:00 am. At the moment, there is still only a 30 percent chance that weather will be acceptable. Check back here for updates or follow us on Twtter: @spcplcyonline

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