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STS-129 Launch Countdown Begins Today

Published by Matt on Sat Nov 14, 2009 10:26 am via: source
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At today’s launch countdown status briefing held at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, managers reported space shuttle Atlantis, its payload and crew are ready for launch at 2:28 p.m. EST on Monday.

NASA Test Director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson reported everything is progressing on schedule for Atlantis’ 31st flight to deliver the crew, two Express Logistic Carriers and other necessary parts to the International Space Station.

At Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis is ready for the STS-129 mission. Credit NASA

At Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis is ready for the STS-129 mission. Credit NASA

“Our teams here at Kennedy Space Center, as well as all the NASA centers around the country, have worked very hard preparing this hardware for flight,” said Blackwell-Thompson. “We’re all looking forward to the mission that lies ahead.”

Scott Higginbotham, the STS-129 payload manager, said the processing of the payload for this mission has been a difficult and challenging race for his team. “But we’re smiling today,” Higginbotham said. “Because we crossed the finish line and we survived.” Final inspections were completed and the payload bay doors were closed for flight this morning.

Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters reported weather is looking very good for launch day and for the loading of propellants into Atlantis’ external fuel tank. At this time there’s only a 10 percent chance of weather hindering a successful launch on Monday.

At 1 p.m. today, NASA’s official launch countdown clock begins counting backward toward Monday’s liftoff.

Tune into the STS-129 mission’s pre-launch news conference that will be aired tomorrow at no earlier than 11 a.m. EST on NASA TV and on the web at www.nasa.gov/ntv.

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