Atlantis launch on November 16

WASHINGTON: NASA has given the green light for the space shuttle Atlantis mission to launch on November 16 carrying six astronauts to the International Space Station.

Liftoff is set for 1928 GMT from the Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, Florida, the US space agency said Thursday following a “flight readiness review” meeting. The liftoff date, however, still depends on the successful launch on November 14 of the experimental Atlas V rocket from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

If the Atlas launch is delayed to November 15, the shuttle’s liftoff “will move to no earlier than 2:02 pm on Nov. 17,” NASA said in a statement.

The shuttle mission, once it gets underway, is set to include three spacewalks aimed at storing space hardware on the exterior of the orbiting outpost.

The 11-day space outing will be the fifth and last shuttle mission for 2009.