STS-122 Mission Updates: Part 1

Shuttle Flight Back on Track After Astronaut's Illness
European Space Agency astronauts Hans Schlegel (left center) and Leopold Eyharts (center right); NASA astronauts Stanley Love (left) and Rex Walheim, all STS-122 mission specialists, work on the middeck of the shuttle Atlantis on Feb. 8, 2008.
(Image: © NASA.)

Orbital Rendezvous!Atlantis Docks with Space Station
9 February 2008 12:18 p.m. EST

HOUSTON – Space shuttlecommander Stephen Frick gently guided Atlantis onto the Harmony node around 12:17p.m. EST (1717 GMT), kicking off a busy schedule of orbital work for theinstallation of the Columbus science laboratory.

The event occurred 213miles (342 kilometers) above the Earth over the South Pacific Ocean, just southof Tasmania and west of New Zealand.

Stay tuned forSPACE.com'swrap-up of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Less Than 100 FeetRemain Until Space Shuttle Docking
9 February 2008 12:07 p.m. EST

HOUSTON – Missioncontrollers gave the seven-astronaut crew of space shuttle Atlantis theall-clear to proceed with docking at the International Space Station (ISS) asthey float 100 feet (30 meters) in front of the orbital outpost's Harmony node.

Dockingis now expected to occur around 12:22 p.m. EST (1722 GMT) south of Tasmania,just west of new Zealand.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Atlantis Inches Toward Space Station for Docking
9 February 2008 11:58 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Now positionedless than 200 feet (61 meters) from the International Space Station (ISS),space shuttle Atlantis is backing toward the orbital outpost's Harmony moduleat the rate of 2.4 inches (6.1 centimeters) per second.

Dockingis expected at 12:25 p.m. EST (1725 GMT), and the seven-person crew of STS-122will join the space station crew about an hour later.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Atlantis BeginsJourney to Pull Up to Space Station
9 February 2008 11:47 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Following asuccessful orbital back-flip of space shuttle Atlantis below the International SpaceStation (ISS), STS-122 commander Stephen Frick is now guiding the 100-tonorbiter into adocking position.

NASA expects theseven-astronaut crew to dock with the orbital outpost around 12:25 p.m. EST(1725 GMT) and join the three-member Expedition 16 space station crew about anhour later.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Orbital Back Flip ofAtlantis finishes, Underbelly Photographed
9 February 2008 11:35 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Wieldinghigh-power lenses, Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer YuriMalenchenko photographed space shuttle Atlantis as itwas piloted into a 360-degree back-flip.

STS-122 commander StephenFrick guided the 100-ton orbiter during the back-flip, known formally as aRotational Pitch Maneuver. He will next pull up to the space station for a gentledocking.

Specialists here atJohnson Space Center will analyze the images see if there is any damage to the100-ton orbiter's heat-resistant tiles, as well as an "area ofinterest" on the rear of the spacecraft. Astronauts photographed a thermalblanket sticking up at the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod earlier thisweekend.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

-- Dave Mosher

Back Flip! ShuttleAtlantis Rotates 360 Degrees
9 February 2008 11:26 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – After pullingAtlantis beneath the International Space Station (ISS), STS-122 commanderStephen Frick began piloting space shuttle Atlantis into a 360-degreeback-flip.

The maneuver is performedshortlybefore docking, which is anticipated at 12:25 p.m. EST (1725 GMT).

During the 9-minuteorbital procedure, ISS commander Peggy Whitson will bephotograph Atlantis' heat shield with a 400-mm camera lens. Expedition16 flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko will use ahigher-power 800-mm lens. Mission managers here at Johnson Space Center willuse the images to determine whether or not there is any damage to the 100-tonorbiter's heat-resistant tiles.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Shuttle Comes intoView of Space Station, Prepares for Back-flip
9 February 2008 11:05 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – NASA's spaceshuttle Atlantis has appeared with view of the International Space Station(ISS) about 600 feet (183 meters) below the orbital outpost.

STS-122 shuttle commanderStephen Frick is readying to flip the shuttle 360 degrees before pulling up infront of the ISS, at which time Expedition 16 space station crew members PeggyWhitson (commander) and Yuri Malenchenko (flightengineer) will snap some 300-plus detailed photos of the orbiter'sprotective heat shield.

Frick will gently guidethe 100-ton orbiter intodocking position on the end of the Harmony connecting node around 12:25p.m. EST (1725 GMT).

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Shuttle Less Than TwoMiles From Space Station
9 February 2008 10:45 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Following aburn of propellant earlier this morning, the seven-astronaut STS-122 crewaboard space shuttle Atlantis is creeping within 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers) of theInternational Space Station (ISS) for a dockingearly this afternoon. Mission managers expect the spacecraft to dock around12:25 p.m. EST (1725 GMT).

Shuttle commander StephenFrick will guide the 100-ton orbiter to 600 feet (183 meters) below the space station, pilot it into an orbital back-flip and pull up tothe front of the ISS after its crew members document theorbiter's heat shield.

Brandi Dean, a NASAspokesperson here at Johnson Space Center, said mission managers have noted atear in a thermal blanket of the shuttle's starboard (right) OrbitalManeuvering System (OMS) pod at the shuttle's rear.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Astronauts Note 'Tear'in Thermal Blanket on Atlantis
9 February 2008 9:51 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Space shuttleAtlantis astronauts made their final press towardthe International Space Station (ISS) today by initiating what is called aTerminal Intercept (or Terminal Initiation) (TI) burn at about 9:39 a.m. EST(1439 GMT).

The gap between the twospacecraft is about 9 miles (15 kilometers) and closing. NASA expects Atlantisto arrive 600 feet (183 meters) below the orbital outpost, where it willperform an orbital back-flip and allow ISS crewmembers Yuri Malenchenkoand Peggy Whitson to photograph the huttle'sheat-resistant belly.

"We have a greatview of ISS out the front window," STS-122 commander Stephen Frick toldMission Control here at Johnson Space Center. "It looks tremendouslybright and beautiful."

"Wish we were allthere with you," responded spacecraft communicator Kevin Ford.

Meanwhile, missioncontrollers instructed the Expedition 16 spacestation crew to take extra photos of "an area of interest," asMission Control commentator Nicole Lemasters calledit, on a thermal blanket of the shuttle's starboard (right) Orbital ManeuveringSystem (OMS) pod. Mission controllers referred to the area as a"tear."

The OMS area of the spaceshuttle, located on the rear of the spacecraft, allows the crew to finelyadjust the position of Atlantis' orbit above Earth.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Atlantis Closes in onSpace Station
9 February 2008 8:05 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Astronautsabout the space shuttle Atlantis are closing in on the International Space Station(ISS) and expectto meet up with the orbital outpost around 12:25 p.m. EST (1725 GMT).

The seven-astronautSTS-122 crew confirmed sighting the ISS around 7:52 a.m. EST (1252 GMT) andexpect to make what is known as a Terminal Intercept (TI) burn of propellantaround 9:37 a.m. EST (1457 GMT). This blast of fuel will close a roughly 9-mile(15-kilometer) gap between the two spacecraft.

"We're lookingforward to a great day of rendezvous today," shuttle commander StephenFrick said earlier this morning of the planned docking.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Astronauts Wake Up,Prepare for Big Docking Day
9 February 2008 4:55 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Theseven-astronaut crew of Atlantis awoke bright and early at 4:45 a.m. EST (945GMT) this morning to begin a busy day ofchasing down the International Space Station (ISS) and docking with it.

Spacecraft communicatorShannon Lucid stirred the spaceflyers to the song "Powder MilkBiscuits" by the comedic radio show Prairie Home Companion. Lucid saidCommander Stephen Frick's wife, Jennifer Frick, picked the song for herhusband.

"Good morningAtlantis, and specially a great good morning to you Steve," Lucid saidfrom Mission Control. "It's a great day for rendezvous."

"Hey thanks verymuch Shannon and thanks so much to my wonderful wife Jennifer for her littlepowder milk biscuits to wake up to in the morning," Frick said. He notedthat his crew can't get any of them in space, "but we can still dream ofsome of the brown stains on the back that indicate freshness."

Atlantis is slated tobegin preparations for docking around 6:30 a.m. EST (1130 GMT) and make contactwith the orbital outpost at around 12:25 p.m. EST (1725 GMT). Once there, STS-122astronauts on the shuttle will immediately begin work to prepare the EuropeanSpace Agency's Columbus module for installation Sunday.

"We're lookingforward to a great day of rendezvous today," Frick said.

Clickhere to read SPACE.com'spreview story of today's docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Astronauts Wrap UpLengthy Heat Shield Inspection
8 February 2008 2:38 p.m. EST

HOUSTON – Astronauts onboard space shuttle Atlantis have finished their six-hoursurvey of the orbiter's wind leading edges and nose cap, and are returningthe shuttle's sensor-tipped extension boom into the payload bay.

The procedure is designedto investigate the portions of Atlantis heat shield that bear the brunt ofsearing atmospheric reentry upon return to Earth. International Space Station(ISS) astronauts will photograph the rest of the shuttle's heat-resistant tilesSaturday, when Atlantis performs a back flip and exposes it's underbelly to theorbital outpost prior to docking.

NASA expects the shuttleto latch onto the ISS around 12:35 p.m. EST (1735 GMT) on Saturday, beginning abusy week of work in space for the seven-astronaut crew of the STS-122 mission.

A wrap up of today'sinspection activities will be posted to SPACE.com's homepage.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Astronauts ScanShuttle's Left Wing
8 February 2008 1:00 p.m. EST

HOUSTON – Theseven-astronaut crew aboard space shuttle Atlantis has finished scanning of theorbiter's nose cap and are now inspecting the port-side (left) wing.

Scanning of the portwing's leading edge is the third and final stage of the heatshield inspection using Atlantis' sensor-packed extension boom. Theprocess, a standard procedure since NASA returned its shuttle fleet to flightin 2005, is designed to scope out any heat-resistant tile damage that couldpose a danger during reentry to Earth.

Once the inspection wrapsup, the astronauts will load the shuttle's 50-foot (15-meter) extension boomback into the payload bay of Atlantis and continue with preparations fordocking with the International Space Station around 12:35 p.m. EST (1735 GMT)Saturday.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Heat Shield InspectionMoves to Shuttle's Nose
8 February 2008 11:29 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Now about twohours into a six-hour heat inspection of space shuttle Atlantis' heat shield,STS-122 astronauts have shifted their attention from the starboard wing leadingedge to the orbiter's nose cap.

The seven-astronaut crewis utilizing a sensor-tipped inspection tool – a 50-foot (15-meter) extensionboom locked onto the end of the orbiter's robotic arm – to scanAtlantis for damage to its protective heat-resistant tiles. The heat shieldis used to deflect the searing heat of atmospheric reentry, and any chinks in ashuttle's underbelly could prove to be disastrous.

Specialists here atJohnson Space Center are analyzing the data returned from inspection for anypeculiarities.

When damage to ashuttle's tiles is discovered, it is always traced back to launch. Theenergetic journey into space can cause the launch vehicle's external fuel tanksto shed chunks of foam insulation or ice and chink the protective heat shield.

NASA officials saidThursday that at least three pieces of foam were spotted during yesterday'slaunch, but noted they were relatively small and unlikely to be an issue.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Astronauts ScanShuttle's Heat Shield for Damage
8 February 2008 10:35 a.m. EST

HOUSTON – Astronautsaboard the space shuttle Atlantis, which rocketedinto orbit Thursday, have begun scanning the orbiter's heat shield fordamage.

Using the shuttle'srobotic arm, the astronauts unberthed a 50-foot(15-meter) extension boom laden with sensors from Atlantis' payload bay toperform the heat-resistant tile inspection work.

The process – astandard procedure since the loss of Columbia and its crew in 2003 – takesabout six hours and covers the shuttle's wing leading edges and nose cap, wherethe brunt of searing atmospheric reentry occurs. Engineers on the ground willreview the laser-gathered data after the inspection is complete to determine ifAtlantis is has any damage.

Scanning started with thestarboard (right) wing's leading edge, will progress to the nose cap and endwith inspection of the port (left) wing.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher

Shuttle AstronautsAwake for First Full Day in Space
8 February 2008 4:54 a.m. EST

The seven-astronaut crewof NASA’s shuttle Atlantis is awake and working on their first full day inspace after a successfulThursday launch toward the International Space Station (ISS).

Mission Control inHouston roused the crew at about 4:45 a.m. EST (0945 GMT) with the tune “TheBook of Love” by Peter Gabriel, a song chosen for STS-122mission specialist Leopold Eyharts – a French astronaut with the EuropeanSpace Agency.

“Good Morning Atlantisand a special good morning to you Leo,” NASA astronaut Shannon Lucid radioed upto the astronauts from Mission Control. “It’s good to see you back in spaceagain.”

“Happy to hear thissong,” Eyharts said, and thanked his family and friends for choosing it in bothEnglish and French. “It has been a somewhat hard day for them.”

Eyharts and his crewmateswill scanAtlantis’ heat shield for damage today using a sensor-laden inspectionboom. They are due to dock at the ISS on Saturday to deliver Eyharts to his newExpedition 16 crewmates along with Europe’s Columbus laboratory.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik

Atlantis AstronautsDiscard Shuttle Fuel Tank
7 February 2008 2:57 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – TheSTS-122 astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis havediscarded the 15-story external tank that fed the orbiter’s nearly nine-minutelaunch into space.

With the tank jettisoned,Atlantis is now in orbit. STS-122 commander Stephen Frick will maneuver theshuttle to allow his fellow astronaut crewmembers to take detailed videos andstill images of its external tank.

Analysts at MissionControl in Houston’s Johnson Space Center will search for any signs of foamloss during launch.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

— Dave Mosher

Atlantis’ Engines ShutDown as Planned
7 February 2008 2:57 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –The five engines boosting Atlantis and its external tank towards orbit haveshut down as planned about eight and a half minutes into flight.

The milestone, known asMain Engine Cut Off (MECO) The spacecraft is flyingtowards its intended orbit, with the next major task aimed at discarding theshuttle’s external tank.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

— Dave Mosher

Solid Rocket BoostersSeparate
7 February 2008 2:49 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –The twin solid rocket boosters assisting Atlantis’ launch into space have separatedas planned from the shuttle’s external tank.

The reusable boosters separate abouttwo minutes and five seconds after liftoff and fall back toward the AtlanticOcean, where they will land under parachutes and be retrieved by recoveryships. They are equipped with cameras NASAis broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the missionusing SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, whichis available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

 

— Dave Mosher

Liftoff! ShuttleAtlantis Launches Spacward
7 February 2008 2:45 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –The space shuttle Atlantis has cleared the launch tower and gaining altitudeafter lifting off at about 2:45:30 p.m. EST (1945:30 GMT).

Riding spaceward aboardAtlantis are STS-122 commander Stephen Frick, shuttle pilot Alan Poindexter,mission specialists Rex Walheim, Stanley Love, Leland Melvin and European SpaceAgency astronauts Hans Schlegel and Leopold Eyharts. It should take Atlantisabout eight and one-half minutes to ferry its seven-astronaut crew into orbit.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

— Dave Mosher

Shuttle Atlantis ‘Go’for Launch
7 February 2008 2:42 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL,Fla. – Shuttle Atlantis has been cleared for launch from Kennedy Space Center'sPad 39-A on the 121st space shuttle flight, a mission to theInternational Space Station to deliver the European Space Agency Columbusresearch laboratory. The countdown has just picked up following the planned T-9minute hold as final launch preparations are rushed to completion.

All eyes are onthe skies surrounding the Kennedy Space Center; however, at this time, weatherconditions are observed ‘Go’ on all fronts with no constraints to launch, andconditions at the Transatlantic Abort Landing site remain acceptable.

The missionmanagement team has been polled and all have reported ‘Go for launch.’ Theseven STS-122 astronauts, led by veteran mission commander Steve Frick andpilot Alan Poindexter, are strapped into their seats,running through their pre-launch checklists and are closely monitoring theirspacecraft systems for their ascent to orbit.

Atlantis' preferred launchtime is set for 2:45:30 p.m. EST (1945:30 GMT), at the mid-point of a 10-minutelaunch window. At the time of launch, the International Space Station willbe orbiting about 220 miles above Earth, southwest of Perth, Australia.

The EasternRange is reporting ‘Clear for launch.’ The two Solid Rocket Booster recovery ships have reportedon-station, about 140 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral and about 8 miles awayfrom the actual impact point of the spent boosters.

Over the nextnine minutes, the Orbiter’s access arm will be retracted, the hydraulic powersystem (APU) started, the liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks pressurized,Discovery’s internal flight computers will take control of the countdown and abooster steering test will be conducted. The three space shuttle main engineswill ignite at T-minus 6.6 seconds and the twin solid rockets boosters willlight at T-minus zero resulting in liftoff.

No technical issues arebeing worked at this time. All systems are reported 'Go'.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's shuttle launch.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Roger Guillemette

Atlantis Readied forLaunch; Weather Concerns Linger
7 February 2008 2:10 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –Shuttle Atlantis' hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the sevenSTS-122 astronauts are strapped into their seats and final preparations areprogressing for this morning’s launch attempt from Kennedy Space Center’sLaunch Pad 39-A; however, clouds and thunderstorms near Florida's Kennedy SpaceCenter are threatening to spoil the show.

Atlantis' preferred launchtime has been moved back by one second to 2:45:30 p.m. EST (1945:30 GMT), atthe mid-point of a 10-minute launch window.

The astronauts are runningthrough their pre-launch checklists and are closely monitoring their spacecraftsystems in preparation for their ascent to orbit. The close-out crew has justfinished breaking down the ‘White Room’ surrounding the spacecraft hatch andhas departed the launch pad.

The countdown clock iscurrently halted at the T-minus 9-minute mark – a scheduled built-in holdlasting 40 minutes.

Led by veteran commanderSteve Frick and pilot Alan Poindexter, Atlantis' crew – which includes flightengineer Rex Walheim, mission specialists Leland Melvin, Stanley Love, veteranEuropean Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Hans Schlegel, and the ISS Expedition 16Flight Engineer, Leopold Eyharts – will deliver the long-awaited ESA Columbusresearch laboratory to the International Space Station. Twenty-three feet longand 15-feet in diameter, Columbus represents Europe's largest contribution tothe ISS and will house experiments in life sciences, materials science, fluidphysics and other disciplines. French astronaut Eyharts, who previously flew tothe Russian Mir space station in 1998, will replace NASA astronaut Dan Tanionboard the ISS – Tani will return to Earth on Atlantis.

Weather conditions arecurrently observed 'Red' or 'No Go' for Return-to-Launch-Site (RTLS)constraints; meteorologists are currently monitoring a thunderstorm that haspopped-up about 45 miles west of the Kennedy Space Center. Launch weatherofficer Kathy Winters is slightly more optimistic than her earlier forecasts,calling for a 40 percent chance of acceptable weather conditions at launch time- cumulus clouds, rain showers and anvil clouds in the vicinity of the KennedySpace Center remain a threat to scrub today's launch attempt. Weatherconditions are currently acceptable at the primary Transatlantic Abort Landing sitein Zaragoza, Spain.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's shuttle launch.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Roger Guillemette

Weather Remains aConcern for Atlantis Launch
7 February 2008 1:25 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASAofficials continue to closely monitor weather conditions along Florida's SpaceCoast, “cautiously optimistic” that clouds and rain showers will hold off to permit a launch of shuttle Atlantis this afternoon.

Launch weather officerKathy Winters is slightly more optimistic than her earlier forecasts, nowcalling for a 40 percent chance of acceptable weather conditions at launchtime. Cumulus clouds, rain showers and anvil clouds in the vicinity of theKennedy Space Center are threatening to scrub today's launch attempt.

Atlantis' hatch has beenclosed and latched for flight, the seven STS-122 astronauts are strapped intotheir seats and final preparations are progressing for this morning’s launchattempt from Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39-A. The countdown clock ishalted at the T-minus 9-minute mark – a scheduled built-in hold lasting 45minutes.

The preferred launch timehas been moved back by one second to 2:45:30 p.m. EST (1945:30 GMT), at themid-point of a 10-minute launch window.

Other than concerns overthe weather, no technical issues are being worked at this time.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's shuttle launch.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Roger Guillemette

Shuttle Atlantis' HatchClosed for Launch
7 February 2008 12:47 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. –Shuttle Atlantis' hatch has been closed and latched for flight, the sevenSTS-122 astronauts are strapped into their seats and final preparations areprogressing for this afternoon’s launch attempt from Kennedy Space Center’s pad39-A.

Mission commander SteveFrick, pilot Alan Poindexter and crew have just completed the final series ofair-to-ground communications checks to ensure that the astronauts can talk toflight controllers and each other during the spacecraft’s ascent to orbit.

Atlantis' launch time isset for 2:45:29 p.m. EST (1945:29 GMT), with a 5-minute launch window. A finaladjustment may be made at the T-9 minute hold to more precisely align with theorbit of the International Space Station.

Weather forecasts haveimproved slightly – launch weather officer Kathy Winters has upgraded theforecast to a 40 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time;meteorologists are also closely monitoring a rain shower that popped up about 8miles southwest of the launch pad. Weather conditions are currently acceptableat both the primary and backup Transatlantic Abort Landing sites.

The shuttle's External Tankis now filled with a half-million gallons of super-chilled liquid hydrogen andliquid oxygen and will continue to be topped-off until launch. The tank'sEngine Cutoff (ECO) Sensors, whose failure scrubbed two of Atlantis' previouslaunch attempts in December, are functionally normally; after extensivetroubleshooting, engineers determined that soldering the pins and sockets inthe electrical feed-through connectors would solve the problem.

The solid rocket boosterretrieval ships, Liberty and Freedom, have reported on-station – about 140miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

Click here for SPACE.com's preview of today's shuttle launch.

NASA is broadcasting Atlantis’ STS-122 mission live onNASA TV. You are invited tofollow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV,feed, which is available by clickinghere or using the button at the left.

-- Roger Guillemette

Shuttle AstronautsStrapped in for Launch
7 February 2008 12:10 p.m. EST

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Theseven STS-122 astronauts are now securely strapped into their seats onboardshuttle Atlantis and are beginning final preparations for this af

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