Weather looking acceptable for Atlas launch

Atlas AV-011 before launch

CAPE CANAVERAL — The preliminary weather outlook for Thursday night’s Atlas 5 rocket launch from Cape Canaveral is cloudy but optimistic that the vehicle will fly as scheduled.

A weather front in North Florida and a developing low pressure system in the Central Gulf of Mexico will be influencing the weather along the Space Coast, forecasters say. Moisture over Central Florida in the mid and upper levels will increase, plus easterly winds deepen and bring a coastal shower threat.

The primary concerns for launch are cumulus clouds and the thick cloud rule.

The forecast for the 10:44 p.m. EDT launch time predicts scattered clouds at 3,000 feet and a broken deck at 20,000 feet, isolated showers, good visibility, southeasterly winds 16 gusting to 20 knots and a temperature of 74 degrees.

Overall, there is a 70 percent chance of weather cooperating with the launch rules.