Friday, May 14, 2010
The space shuttle Atlantis' huge center fuel tank is being loaded with some 535,000 gallons of fuel this hour in preparation for her launch this afternoon to begin a twelve day mission to Earth's orbital outpost.
Super cold liquid oxygen followed by liquid hydrogen fuels began loading into the rust colored external fuel tank at 4:55 am EDT this morning.
It is the mixture of the two hypergolic fuels which power the orbiter's three main engines for eight and one-half minutes.
Lift-off of Atlantis on her final planned space voyage is targeted for 2:20:09 pm today, from launch pad 39-A here at the Kennedy Space Center.
The six crew members awoke earlier to begin their launch day activities which will see them depart for the launch pad at 10:30 am.