Shuttle Atlantis launches on schedule - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Shuttle Atlantis launches on schedule

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The Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on schedule Friday after concerns about weather.  It's the final mission of the 30-year-old shuttle program.

On Thursday, heavy rain and storms pelted the Florida launch site. Early in the afternoon, NASA reported a lightning strike within one-third of a mile from the pad. NASA said there were no immediate signs of damage, but technicians are checked the electrical systems.

NASA filled the external fuel tank with 535,000 gallons of super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen Friday morning.  The filling started at 2:01 a.m. and was finished within three hours.

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