Astronauts Wrap Up Countdown Rehearsal

The STS-129 astronauts concluded their countdown dress rehearsal Tuesday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida and headed back to Johnson Space Center in Houston aboard a NASA aircraft.

The crew will return to Kennedy when the real countdown begins in about two weeks to launch space shuttle Atlantis on a mission to the International Space Station.

Tuesday's dress rehearsal is a standard procedure for shuttle crews known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. It gives the launch team a chance to practice the intricacies of launch day and affords the astronauts an opportunity to run through their escape process in the unlikely event that an emergency develops in the last moments before a real launch.