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STS-126 countdown begins
Posted: Wed, Nov 12, 2008, 7:22 AM ET (1222 GMT)
STS-126: logo (NASA) The countdown for the launch of the next shuttle mission began Tuesday night with weather the one major concern for Friday's launch. The countdown for the STS-126 launch began Tuesday at 10 pm EST (0300 GMT Wednesday), with liftoff of Endeavour scheduled for 7:55 pm EST Friday (0055 GMT Saturday). A forecast earlier Tuesday featured a 40 percent chance of clouds and rain that could delay the launch. Shuttle managers said there were no other current issues that could postpone the launch. The mission, the first shuttle flight in five and a half months, is carrying equipment to the ISS that will allow the station to increase its crew capacity from three to six people. The mission will also include four spacewalks to service the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints that allow the station's solar panels to track the sun; one of two SARJs has experienced problems over the last year. The STS-126 crew includes astronaut Sandra Magnus, who will remain on the station, taking the place of current ISS astronaut Greg Chamitoff.
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