National Geographic

Space Shuttle Launch Coverage: All Aboard!

By Susan Poulton

for Breaking Orbit

The crew is now on board and completing their communication checks and the hatch has been closed. Liftoff of Atlantis is still on schedule for 2:20pm ET with the weather forecast holding steady at 70%. There’s still a slight chance of a low cloud ceiling over the launch pad at the time of launch, but everything else is looking good.

There was a large crowd at the traditional crew walk out event of media and NASA employees, all eager to send the crew of six on their way. I traditionally like to photograph the “newbie” astronauts for whom this is their first trip into space, however all the astronauts on STS-132 are veterans of at least one previous flight.

132-crew-walk-out.jpgFrom left to right: Piers Sellers (Mission Specialist), Steve Bowen (Mission Specialist), Michael Good (Mission Specialist), Garrett Reisman (Mission Specialist), Tony Antonelli (Pilot), Ken Ham (Commander). —Image Credit: Susan Poulton

132-astrovan.jpg—Image Credit: Susan Poulton

—Susan Poulton works for National Geographic Digital Media and is a self-proclaimed space geek. Since graduating from Space Camp in 1987, she’s been fascinated by all things space and can’t resist sharing this passion with others. A veteran of 13 launches (and over 32 launch attempts), she has attempted to see every space shuttle launch since STS-114 in 2005.