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Dodgy weather threatens Atlantis launch

30% chance Friday will see last ever shuttle liftoff

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The weather forecast is not looking too bright for the launch of space shuttle Atlantis on Friday, with NASA predicting just a 30 per cent chance the venerable vehicle will get off the ground.

The agency reports: "The concern is for showers and thunderstorms, flight through precipitation, and cumulus clouds."

The crew of Atlantis – commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley, and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim – were up bright and early this morning to continue preparations for their STS-135 mission to the International Space Station.

The trip, slated to kick off at 15:26 GMT, marks the end of the space shuttle programme, with Atlantis ultimately destined for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. ®

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