[Yes, there are stories worth coming back from walkabout for.]
On Monday morning, February 8th, at 4:14 am EST, space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled lift off from Kennedy Space Center on a 13-day mission to the ISS. There are only five missions left before NASA ends the shuttle program, and this will be the last one to launch at night. Endeavour's previous night launch looked like this [above].
The spectacle attracted sightseers from hundreds of miles around. If you plan to be in Florida this weekend, here are some places you can watch the launch in person. Otherwise, tune in to NASA TV for full coverage.
EXTRA: "And if you can arrange to be at azimuth 40 degrees (WNW) of the launch site, you'll have a crescent moon in the background," notes University of Kentucky astronomer Timothy Knauer. "Photo-Op alert!"
Image above: The flags are flying proud at Launch Pad 39A near space shuttle Endeavour at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett.
UPDATE: Tanking Nears Completion, Weather Now "Green"
Sun, 07 Feb 2010 09:33:45 PM EST
Weather is now "green" but there still remains a 40 percent change of "no go" at the 4:14 a.m. EST launch time. Conditions are expected to toggle back and forth throughout the countdown. Tanking operations are nearing a close, with about 20 minutes to go. Filling of space shuttle Endeavour's external fuel tank began at 6:50 p.m. EST.
Endeavour is in Orbit
Mon, 08 Feb 2010 04:31:29 AM EST
About two minutes into flight, the external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters propelling Endeavour into space successfully separated and fell away. The shuttle and its crew have safely attained low-Earth orbit.