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NASA clears Endeavour for Monday flight

NASA officials have given the space shuttle Endeavour a "go" to launch on its final space voyage Monday (May 16).
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Endeavour awaits its final liftoff from Launch Pad 39A.
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Endeavour awaits its final liftoff from Launch Pad 39A.NASA
/ Source: Space.com

NASA officials have given the space shuttle Endeavour a "go" to launch on its final space voyage Monday (May 16).

The shuttle is now scheduled to lift off from here at Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A at 8:56 a.m. EDT (1256 GMT). [Photos: Shuttle Endeavour's Final Mission]

Weather forecasters predict a 70 percent chance the weather will cooperate for Endeavour's launch on Monday.

This will be the shuttle's second launch try after an earlier attempt was foiled by a failed set of heaters that insulate a critical power unit on the shuttle. Engineers replaced a faulty switch box that had sparked the heater problem, along with wiring to and from the box. Mission managers are confident the problem is fixed now. [The People Behind Endeavour: Engineers Reflect on NASA's Youngest Shuttle]

The astronauts of space shuttle Endeavour, from left, commander Mark Kelly, Canadian born U.S. astronaut Greg Chamitoff, mission specialist Drew Feustel, European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, of Italy, mission specialist Mike Fincke and British born U.S. astronaut, pilot Greg Johnson, gather for a photo after arriving at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Thursday, May 12, 2011. The astronauts for NASA's next-to-last space shuttle flight returned to Florida on Thursday for another try at launching to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/John Raoux)John Raoux / AP

This will be the last mission for shuttle Endeavour, and the next-to-last flight of NASA's 30-year space shuttle program. Endeavour's goal is to deliver a $2 billion antimatter hunting experiment and a haul of spare supplies for the International Space Station.

Endeavour will spend about 16 days in orbit on a mission that includes four ambitious spacewalks to pack away the spare supplies and upgrade the exterior of the station.

Commander Mark Kelly will lead Endeavour's veteran crew of six astronauts. Kelly's wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is expected to attend the launch in person despite having been shot in the head in January. Giffords is undergoing rehabilitation at a hospital in Houston.

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