National

Nov 16, 2009 10:33 AM by Associated Press

Low clouds a concern for shuttle launch

Skies are clouding up a bit, so the chance of acceptable weather for today's launch of the shuttle Atlantis is now listed at just 70 percent.

Low clouds are the main concern for the mid-afternoon liftoff from Florida's Cape Canaveral. The shuttle is fueled up, and the countdown remains on track.

The six astronauts were awake around the time fueling got under way, well before dawn.

Atlantis is carrying some big spare parts for the International Space Station. NASA is hoping to stockpile as much equipment there as possible before the shuttle fleet is retired next year.

The flight will keep the astronauts in orbit through Thanksgiving. During that time, they'll carry out at least three spacewalks. This is NASA's last shuttle flight of the year. After this one, just five more flights are on the schedule.

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