Weather Could Delay Shuttle Launch

Bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center could delay the final launch of NASA's space shuttle Atlantis. Laurie Johnson reports.

Countdown sign
Three days until space shuttle Atlantis' launch on the STS-135 mission. Bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center could delay the final launch. Image credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

As many as 750,000 people are making plans to be at Cape Canaveral for Friday's launch of Shuttle Atlantis.

It's the last mission in NASA's shuttle program and is intended to bring months worth of supplies to the International Space Station.

But Launch Weather Officer Kathy Winters says a Friday launch may not be possible.

"Well I wish I had a better weather briefing for you, but it does look like we are going to have some weather — at least potential for weather — in the area for launch time. Right now, we are going with a 60 percent chance of KSC weather prohibiting launch due to the potential for showers and isolated thunderstorms in the area."

Winters says right now the weather in Florida is nice, but a system is expected to move into the area on Thursday.

"Usually with easterly waves, we get a lot of showers, not necessarily a lot of thunderstorm activity, but some isolated activity. Then as it pushes in, it's going to really moisten up our atmosphere, so by Friday we do expect the seabreeze to be developing around the time of the launch window and showers and even potentially an isolated storm to develop along that seabreeze as it forms."

Because of the weather, there's a 60 percent chance the launch will be delayed. If that happens, the next launch opportunity comes the next day, Saturday the 9th, with a 40 percent chance of weather problems. Sunday has just a 30 percent chance of a scrub. The shuttle will deliver nearly 1,000 pounds of supplies to the ISS.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...