With one eye on potentially disastrous weather, NASA is preparing to launch its most ambitious space mission ever tomorrow, reports the Orlando Sentinel. The launch is a go despite an independent safety board's recommendation to delay because of hairline cracks in Discovery's wing panels. NASA says the cracks lie within the realm of “acceptable risk.”
The agency is under pressure to end the shuttle program by 2010 but says that hasn't influenced the decision to launch. The shuttle crew, led by only the second woman commander, will add a bus-sized module to the space station—the first addition in 6 years. At least five spacewalks are planned, and solar panels will be rearranged.