Science and Technology News

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Launch Preparations on Track; RSS Rollback Scheduled for Tonight

Preparations for space shuttle Endeavour's launch are continuing as planned at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A. STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly and his crew also are continuing their prelaunch activities. Liftoff to the International Space Station is scheduled for 3:47 p.m. EDT Friday.

The weather forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of favorable conditions at launch time, according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. The only concerns for launch may be the crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility and a low cloud ceiling associated with a front moving into Central Florida.

The rotating service structure (RSS) is scheduled to be retracted at 7 p.m. today but may be delayed because of possible storm activity over the center. Teams will have about a four-hour leeway for the storms to clear out with no affect on Friday morning's external tank fueling, now planned for 6:22 a.m.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of performing an aerial survey of yesterday's brush fire, which was southeast of the Turn Basin and about three miles from the launch pad. The brush fire now is fully contained, and the plan is to burn off the remaining fuel within the fire area to help eliminate any smoke on launch day.

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