Space Shuttle Endeavour ‘Go’ for Sunday Launch

Astronauts Ready for Shuttle Launch Amid NASA Uncertainty
A transport container (left) with the Tranquility module and Cupola is hoisted into position at Launch Pad 39A for installation inside the cargo bay of the waiting shuttle Endeavour on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Launch of the STS-130 mission is set for Feb. 7. (Image credit: NASA/KSC.)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. ? NASA?s space shuttle Endeavour isready for its Sunday launch to the International Space Station ? a plannedpredawn liftoff that is expected to be the last time an orbiter lifts off indarkness.

The weather forecast is pristine for Endeavour?s upcominglaunch from a seaside pad here at NASA?s Kennedy Space Center. Liftoff is setfor 4:39 a.m. EST (0939 GMT), with an 80 percent chance of good weather.

?We?re in really good shape,? said Mike Moses, NASA?sshuttle integration manager, in a morning briefing. ?Everybody is ready to go.?

Endeavour?s launch is the first of NASA?s five finalshuttle missions before the space agency retires its aging, three-orbiterfleet later this year.

The shuttle will launch six astronauts on a 13-daymission to deliver a new room and observation portal to the InternationalSpace Station.? It is the last major assembly job for the $100 billion spacestation, which has been under construction since 1998.

?Every launch is a little bittersweet because it?s onecloser to the end,? Moses said.?

The new room, called Tranquility, will house station roboticarm controls, life support systems and exercise gear. It will also include theCupola, a new seven-window observation portal launching on Endeavour thatpromises to give astronauts stunning views of the Earth and space.

Sunday?s predawn launch is also expected to be the last timea space shuttle willblast off in darkness. Weather permitting, it is expected to be visiblefrom much of the eastern United States.

SPACE.com is providing complete coverage of Endeavour?sSTS-130 mission to the International Space Station with Managing Editor TariqMalik in Cape Canaveral and Staff Writer Clara Moskowitz in New York. Click here for shuttlemission updates and a link to NASA TV.

 

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Tariq Malik
Editor-in-Chief

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award (opens in new tab) for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast (opens in new tab) with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network (opens in new tab). To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik (opens in new tab).