NASA clears Atlantis for Thursday launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Space shuttle Atlantis is clear for
a Thursday launch.
Shuttle managers have confirmed the launch date after a daylong
meeting. The decision comes less than a month after another
shuttle, Discovery, touched back down on Earth. NASA says
Discovery's almost pristine condition after its voyage helped keep
Atlantis on schedule.
Meanwhile in orbit, the space station's crew has been laboring
to get things ready for Atlantis' payload, the European Space
Agency's lab module, Columbus.
NASA has a weeklong window to get Atlantis off the ground in
December. Otherwise, the shuttle will have to wait until the new
year because of unfavorable sun angles.


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