There was a hairy moment when a piece of ball bearing was identified in the pit, but it had just fallen off a pit camera mount. The camera itself had enough PIP bars to hold it in place and so the launch, probably the final ever, of the space shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-132 to the International Space Station was on time at 14:20 EDT/ 19:20 BST. This will be the eleventh time Atlantis visits the station and the thirty-second time that this shuttle has reached orbit, the one hundred and thirty second time that any NASA space shuttle has reached orbit.
The shuttle rose to the clicking of cameras and pictures from the public are already on twitter. Also following progress was NASA TV. Video of the launched has already been archived to their Youtube Channel and can be seen below:
News of the launch has been reported by NASA and by Discovery. The next big event will be the shuttle docking with the ISS, which is expected to happen around 15:27 BST (10:27 EDT) on Sunday. NASA TV will show video of big events and NASA’s twitter feed will keep their followers up to date with whatever happens in orbit. Heavens-Above will also help people on the ground to see if and when the station and shuttle will fly overhead their positions, and I’ll be doing my usual daily roundup too.