With one day left before the launch of space shuttle Atlantis, NASA test director Jeff Spaulding and Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters met with the press to report that all is still going according to plan. With the exception of a minimal leak to the Tank 5 vent manifold, the pre-launch preparations are going well.
The loading of onboard cryo-reactants has been completed, with sufficient quantities to provide the shuttle with four days of hydrogen and nine days of LO2. The leak itself was not a vehicular issue, and was too minor to restrict the preparations or the launch.
“The countdown is going very smoothly, and there are no issues to report,” Spaulding told reporters.
Officials predict only a 10 percent chance that Kennedy Space Center weather will inhibit the launch, making for a clear launch day ahead. The shuttle will have a 10 minute launch window starting at 4:26 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6.
“[The weather here is] great weather for pre-launch op,” said Winters.
There is a slight concern for the returning day’s weather, but nothing serious at this time. Tonight final preparations will be made and the Rotating Services Structure will be moved to the launch position.