NASA preps space shuttle Endeavour for Saturday launch

Houston (TX) – NASA has confirmed that launch countdown operations for the space shuttle Endeavour remain on schedule. The shuttle is expected to lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, on Saturday, 7:39 p.m. EDT.

“Everybody is ‘go’ for launch; we have no major issues at all,” explained Mike Moses, chairman of the mission management team.

However, shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters noted that unfavorable weather could interfere with the final hours of the countdown.

“By the time we get to launch time, we are going with a 60 percent chance of (Kennedy) weather prohibiting launch, so only a 40 percent chance of weather that is good for launch,” said Winters.

According to NASA, Endeavour’s 16 day mission will feature five spacewalks to complete construction of Japan’s Kibo laboratory. The new component will allow International Space Station (ISS) experiments to be exposed to space.

The STS-127 crew comprises Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette.

Kopra will join the space station crew and replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is scheduled to return to Earth after completing a three-month stint on the ISS.