This final shuttle launch will bring to an end three decades of successes and tragedy. Even though two of the shuttle vehicles in the fleet exploded, there have been three decades of successes since the first launch on April 12, 1981. The Challenger shocked the world as it exploded seconds after its launch on January 28, 1986, killing the entire crew. Columbia exploded on reentry February 1, 2003 over the state of Texas. Again, there were no surviving crew members.
Over a million people are expected to jam their vehicles into Brevard County. However, the weather remains the story that can scrub this final launch. No technical or vehicular problems have occurred during the preparation of this launch. But the NASA team will not risk the crew by launching during inclement weather conditions.