T-1 day … and raining!

Posted by Mike Reynolds
on Thursday, July 7, 2011

As I stood at NASA's Kennedy Space Center press site today at 11:26 a.m., the rain was falling steadily from heavy clouds and there was even some lightning. And that's the summary for tomorrow's weather forecast for the first space shuttle Atlantis STS-135 launch attempt.

The countdown clock is almost obscured due to the rain Thursday, July 7. // All photos by Mike Reynolds
At this morning's countdown status briefing, Kathy Winters, the space shuttle weather officer, said the odds of good weather were still only at 30 percent. The shuttle's Rotating Service Structure, or RSS, was rolled back later than scheduled to afford maximum protection to the orbiter, external tank, and two solid rocket boosters.
There was also discussion about making a "go-no go" call around midnight to even make a launch attempt tomorrow. The feeling at the countdown status briefing is if the weather looks like it will be poor, they will scrub for tomorrow and reschedule for Sunday, when the weather is supposed to be much more promising.

Heavy clouds lurk behind the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center one day before the scheduled launch of STS-135.
The space shuttle launch team is also evaluating a possible lightning strike within ⅓ mile of Launch Pad 39A and Atlantis. Engineers will review data to determine if the lightning affected the space shuttle or any of the pad's ground support equipment. A continuing band of thunderstorms had prevented teams from conducting a detailed pad inspection, which had to be performed before the RSS could be rolled back from Atlantis.

The press site is very busy; it reminds me of the early shuttle days. Stay tuned to see if launch is a go tomorrow of scrubbed for a later attempt.

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