Shuttle Endeavour 'go' for Sunday blastoff
Tranquility and tweets
NASA's space shuttle Endeavour is ready for a pre-dawn launch this Sunday, carrying a new room and seven-window observation dome to the International Space Station.
Officials at Kennedy Space Center said liftoff is go for 4:39 AM EST (9:39 AM GMT, 1:39 AM PST), with an 80 per cent chance of good weather.
"The team is energized and excited about the countdown…looking forward to getting Endeavour off the ground Sunday morning," said shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach in a statement.
Endeavour's 13-day STS-130 mission will include three spacewalks and delivery of the Italian-built Tranquility node, the final module of the US portion of the orbiting outpost. Tranquility will provide additional space for its crew as well as several life support and environmental control systems.
Also attached to Tranquility is the Cupola, an observation dome sporting seven windows to be used as a control room for robotics and providing stunning views of Earth.
Perchance to Tweet from space
During their stay, NASA is inviting stay-at-home space cadets to send questions for the Endeavour crew via Twitter and have them answered live from space.
Astronaut Mike Massimino will be accepting questions for the STS-130 mission crew through his Twitter account, astro_Mike, until Thursday, February 11.
At 8:24 AM GMT (12:24 AM PST) Thursday, Massimino will host a live 20-minute web event from his console at Mission Control, where he'll ask the Endeavour astronauts as many submitted and live questions "as practical." The shuttle will be docked to the station during the Q&A session, which will be aired live on the NASA TV website.
Last month, NASA made Web2.0rhea history by sending the first Tweet ever from space.
The historic message bound for the annals of history: "Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station -- the 1st live tween from Space! :) More soon, send your ?s."
To its credit, the Tweet is engineered perfectly at 140 characters length. ®