Space shuttle Atlantis is set to begin its launch countdown for the STS-122 mission with a flurry of activities at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis is scheduled to launch at 4:31 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 6.
A green light from senior NASA managers on Friday cleared the way for the last stages of launch preparations.
The seven astronauts who will fly Atlantis to the International Space Station will arrive at Kennedy at 12:30 p.m. on Monday. The countdown officially begins at 7 p.m.
"We have had three outstnading flights this year and we are looking forward to a fourth," space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said Friday after the Flight Readiness Review concluded.
Atlantis will carry the Columbus laboratory to the space station and install it to the Harmony module, which was brought to the station in October during the last shuttle mission.
Explore further: Mark Kelly, twin brother enlisted for NASA study