Atlantis Preps on Hold for Ares Launch

Atlantis and Ares on their launch pads
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis was secured last night at Launch Pad 39A in anticipation of the launch of the Constellation Program's Ares I-X flight test. The flight test is lifting off from Launch Pad 39B -- only about a mile north of the shuttle launch pad.

After the Ares I-X launch, technicians will be allowed to return to pad A to continue making final system checks in the aft, or back, section of Atlantis. The waste collection system also will be tested later today.

Meanwhile, STS-129 Commander Charles O. Hobaugh and Pilot Barry E. Wilmore are completing their payload-related tasks at Kennedy, and will fly their T-38 jets to Edwards Air Force Base in California for additional mission training.

The agency's Flight Readiness Review, or FRR, for Atlantis' flight to the International Space Station is set for Oct. 29 at Kennedy. NASA managers will announce an official launch date at a post-meeting briefing, which will be broadcast on NASA TV.

Space shuttle Atlantis' launch currently is targeted for 2:28 p.m. EST Nov. 16.