Lightning caused by a severe thunderstorm produced two strikes near NASA's space shuttle Atlantis launch pad. Meanwhile, the shuttle's launch preparations continue as scheduled.
Lightning first struck the water tower 515 feet (157 meters) from the launch pad, while the second struck the beach area northeast of the pad. Data review showed the two strikes occurred at 12:31 pm and 12:40 pm EDT.
So far, the data review indicates no issues with any systems, including shuttle Atlantis, External Tank, Solid Rocket Boosters, Space Shuttle Main Engines or Ground Support Equipment.
NASA space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to liftoff on the final mission of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 12-day program to the International Space Station. The STS-135 astronauts are: Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.
NASA fuelled space shuttle Atlantis for lift-off Friday on the final mission of the 30-year program, defying the stormy weather that threatened to delay the launch, after forecasters insist that there is still a 70 percent chance of thunderstorm and rain.
NASA began fueling of space shuttle Atlantis’s external fuel tank on time with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A at 2:01 am EDT.
The launch team will closely monitor the weather throughout the process. Weather remains at a 30 percent chance of favorable weather for liftoff at 11:26 am. Teams are not working any issues that would delay the launch, NASA said in a statement.
Take a look at the video below how lightning strikes near NASA space shuttle Atlantis launch pad: