Smooth sailing as NASA prepares for Atlantis launch

Home 2007 archive Smooth sailing as NASA prepares for Atlantis launch

Michael Rutschky

The Corsair

All is going well at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in the final hours leading up to the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis. So far no flaws have been detected that could postpone the launch of Atlantis. The space shuttle launches Thursday at 4:30 p.m. EST to initiate mission STS-122.

Shuttle commander Steve Frick along with Atlantis pilot and PJC Graduate Alan Poindexter spent the day practicing the flying and landing of the craft in a heavily modified Gulfstream II business jet.

Meanwhile, NASA’s Mission Management Team unanimously voted to proceed with the countdown after a regular evaluation was conducted. Even the weather looks to be in favorable conditions for Thursday’s launch, with a 90 percent chance of acceptable conditions.

“(It was) a very good day for us,” said MMT Chairman Leroy Cain.

Tomorrow NASA will make it’s final preparations before the launch, including the removal of the Rotating Services Structure.

“We like to think now that we’re at the end of the beginning,” said Alan Thirkettle, ESA’s International Space Station manager.

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