CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AFP) – NASA said Saturday all looked clear a day ahead of the scheduled launch of the shuttle Endeavour, which will take six astronauts to deliver a key module to the International Space Station.
Weather forecasts were giving an 80 percent chance of favorable conditions for the Endeavour to blast off as scheduled at 4:39 am (0939 GMT), with a window of 10 minutes, from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
"The preparations for the launch are going well and on schedule," said Mike Curie, a spokesman for NASA, the US space agency.
NASA plans to start at 7 pm Saturday (0000 GMT Sunday) the three-hour operation of filling the Endeavour's external tank with a low-temperature fuel made of 80 percent hydrogen and 20 percent liquid oxygen.
The 13-day Endeavour mission's main goal is the delivery of the Tranquility module, also known as Node 3, which comes with a multi-window cupola attached.
The cupola, built for NASA by the European group Thales Alenia Space in their Turin factory, will allow for panoramic views of Earth, space objects and spacecraft arriving at the International Space Station.
It will be the first shuttle launch of 2010 and the last scheduled at night.
The mission comes as NASA faces questions about its future missions after President Barack Obama, in his budget presented Monday, effectively abandoned the space agency's plans to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020.