The crew is strapped in
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[update: 1:05pm EDT] 10 minute hold underway with 20 minutes remaining on the countdown.
[update: 1:15pm EDT] 10 minute hold complete. No issues in work.
[update: 1:26pm EDT] 20 minute hold underway with 9 minutes remaining on the countdown.
[update: 1:35pm EDT] Errant ball bearing found from a camera mount is causing a possible launch constraint. Mission managers are discussing, but this may mean they can't come out of the T-9 hold.
[update: 1:48pm EDT] Weather looks great and no technical issues. Waiting for a call on the ball bearing problem.
[update: 1:51pm EDT] Weather up to 90% favorable. No call on ball bearing. It was found in Atlantis' payload bay before closing the doors.
[update: 1:55pm EDT] NASA TV reporting that they expect the ball bearing issue to be cleared, engineers are just discussing to make sure it won't be a problem during the mission.
[update: 2:01pm EDT] Ball bearing issue cleared! Go for launch!!!
[update: 2:06pm EDT] On-board flight recorders activated.
[update: 2:08pm EDT] Launch director gets all go on poll, no constraints.
[update: 2:12pm EDT] 32nd flight of Atlantis is go! 20 minute planned hold complete. T-9 on the countdown clock.
[update: 2:14pm EDT] Orbiter access arm retracting.
[update: 2:17pm EDT] Aero surface check.
[update: 2:19pm EDT] Beanie cap being retracted.
[update: 2:20pm EDT] Atlantis launches! What a beautiful sight.
Atlantis soars on her final planned launch
[update: 2:22pm EDT] SRB Separation.
[update: 2:26pm EDT] Roll to upright, gorgeously smooth.
[update: 2:28pm EDT] Plasma time, my favorite view!
[update: 2:29pm EDT] MECO. Atlantis is in orbit for its final mission. Good luck Atlantis!
I always get excited at launches, but this time I felt more emotional than I thought as I realized I was watching Atlantis soar into the sky for for the final time. This will be a great mission to watch and no doubt the world will be watching too. Keep it tuned to Spacers for updates as the mission progresses.
Thank you for loving spaceflight.
Images credit: NASA TV