Atlantis set for liftoff Friday morning - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Atlantis set for liftoff Friday morning

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (CNN) - The Space Shuttle Atlantis was drenched today when a thunderstorm hit Cape Canaveral this afternoon, and crews are making sure that there is no damage to the shuttle.

NASA's is not ready to give up on the launch just yet, that is if the weather doesn't get in the way.

From the first mission over thirty years ago, it comes down to one last launch. Despite concerns about the weather, NASA is still preparing the Shuttle Atlantis for liftoff Friday morning.

"We also finished our main engine final preps and checkouts and those also went very well yesterday as well, and we're just completing all of our final inspections on the tank and to our solid rocket boosters to make sure those are configured and ready for flight," NASA test director," Jeff Spaulding said. 

So far in 134 missions, the five shuttles have taken 355 astronauts into space. They have traveled more than half a billion miles, all while turning the heroic into the routine.

The final mission will take four astronauts, all of them shuttle veterans, into space for twelve days where they will deliver supplies to the international space station.

"We are just delighted to be here after a very arduous nine-month training flow," Mission Commander, Chris Ferguson said.
 
The shuttle program comes to an end with no clear future for American space travel.

A new vehicle capable of taking astronauts deep into space is being planned, but it could be years before it's built and even longer before it makes it's way to space.

So in the final hours, with the preparations there is also some reflection.

"It's a way of life for us and, yeah, its emotional but it's also part of History and I think that's what you're seeing from folks down here," STS-153 Payload Manager, Joe Delai stated.

The launch is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10:26 a.m. our time. We will stream it live on KLTV.com.

NASA says there's only a 30% chance Atlantis will launch in the scheduled window. If not they'll try again Saturday.

Copyright 2011 CNN. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly