Launch on Schedule, Tanking Complete

Space shuttle Atlantis' external tank has been loaded with about 535,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, the propellants that will power the shuttle's three main engines during launch. The fueling operation went smoothly and a fill-and-drain valve inside Atlantis functioned properly throughout the process. Pumps at the launch pad will continue to trickle in a small amount of super-cold chemicals to replace the amount that boils off during the countdown.

Fueling of the external tank was completed at 8 a.m. and the countdown has entered 2 1/2 hour hold.

The Final Inspection Team and Closeout Crew will head out to the pad shortly for their specialized tasks. The inspection team will look for signs of debris or ice buildup, while the Closeout Crew will ready Atlantis for its six-member astronaut crew.