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Counting Down Toward Liftoff



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR N1ORC- AMSAT A/C #31468

*Counting Down Toward Liftoff*

The launch countdown gets under way at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 
Image credit: NASA/KSC

At noon  Friday, countdown clocks at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in 
Florida came to life at the T-43 hour mark and immediately began 
counting down toward a liftoff Tuesday at 10:39 a.m. EDT.

Space Shuttle Discovery is in great shape for the Return to Flight 
launch, NASA Test Director Pete Nickolenko announced during a briefing 
Saturday morning.

"We believe our flight systems and ground support systems are ready," 
Nickolenko explained. "We are looking forward to a successful launch and 
mission."

Due to concerns about the early development of showers and cumulus 
clouds, the chance of Kennedy weather prohibiting launch is 40 percent, 
according to Shuttle Weather Officer Kathy Winters. There are also 
concerns about crosswinds at all three Trans-Atlantic Landing sites, 
located in Spain and France.

The flight crew, led by Commander Eileen Collins, returned to Kennedy on 
Friday to begin final preparations for their flight to the International 
Space Station.
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