Facebook Twitter

CREWS WORK TO KEEP ATLANTIS ON TRACK FOR TUESDAY LAUNCH

SHARE CREWS WORK TO KEEP ATLANTIS ON TRACK FOR TUESDAY LAUNCH

Engineers worked in the shuttle Atlantis' cramped engine room Thursday to remove a faulty computer in a bid to keep the delayed ship on track for launch Tuesday, five days behind schedule.

But officials cautioned that a final launch decision will not be made until Saturday when engineers reassess the progress of work to swap the computer with a spare.If all goes well, Atlantis' five-member crew will fly back to the Kennedy Space Center on Sunday for the start of the shuttle's abbreviated countdown Monday. Launch is tentatively set for 10:57 a.m. MDT Tuesday, with forecasters calling for favorable weather.

"They have estimated there is a 50-50 chance of completing the work in time to launch on Tuesday," NASA spokeswoman Sarah Keegan said Wednesday.

Anti-nuclear activists, meanwhile, said they would appeal a federal judge's decision to approve the launch of Atlantis and its payload, the plutonium-powered Galileo Jupiter probe, even though U.S. District Judge Oliver Gasch said his order could not be appealed.

Jeremy Rifkin, a lawyer for three groups protesting the flight, said Wednesday that "we've got enough case law" to appeal to a higher court.