NASA says it's still on track for a launch of space shuttle Discovery Saturday afternoon, even if the weather outlook remains iffy.
One of the seven astronauts on board will be 1980 Texas A&M graduate, Michael Fossum.
"A lot of it is excitement, it's been a dream for a long time to do this, the other part is the reality that there's a lot of work to do," Fossum said.
The optimism comes as Americas Space program finds itself entangled in controversy.
At least two top NASA engineers have recommended postponing the mission so more work can be done to prevent damage from foam possibly breaking off during launch.
The launch would be just the second since the Columbia disaster in 2003.
Fossum will make at least two space walks to test equipment designed since the Columbia disaster to repair damage to the shuttle's fuel tank.
"It's a dangerous business when you get down to it and there is risk involved, like there's risk involved with all great endeavors and that is certainly true here," said Fossum.
Launch managers say there are no major technical issues with the shuttle, with launch set for 3:49 pm, Eastern Time.
But the weather forecast isn't so hot. Forecasters say there's a 60 percent chance of dangerous conditions, with the main concern being clouds that could trigger a lightning strike on the spaceplane.