CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — What can bring United States Attorney General Eric Holder, Geraldo Rivera and Kevin Sorbo, TV's "Hercules," together? While it may sound like a wacky new reality show, it's actually NASA's last-ever space shuttle launch.
The shuttle Atlantis is slated to blast off today at 11:26 a.m. EDT (1526 GMT) on the shuttle program's final mission. NASA is retiring the iconic vehicles after 30 years of spaceflight to concentrate on sending astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit to an asteroid and Mars.
Celebrities of widely varying star power are coming out to witness the historic event, according to NASA's VIP guest list. Holden and Sorbo are expected to attend, for example. So are Florida Governor Rick Scott and motivational speaker Vernice "Fly Girl" Armour. Gloria Estefan and Jimmy Buffet are other notable names on the list, too. [Photos: NASA Prepares for Final Shuttle Flight]
Here's NASA's complete list, from politicians to actors and musicians:
1. Florida Governor Rick Scott, R-FL
2. Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, R-FL
3. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-VT
4. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-TX
5. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL
6. Sen. Chris Coons, D-DE
7. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-TX-18
8. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-NC-07
9. Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, D-CA-38
10. Rep. Todd Platts, R-PA-19
11. Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-OH-2
12. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO-05
13. Rep. Jeff Denham, R-CA-19
14. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-IL-14
15. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-MS-4
16. Rep. David Rivera, R-FL-25
Obama Administration Officials
17. Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General
18. John Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
19. Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce
20. Anthony Miller, Deputy Secretary of Education
21. Karen Mills, Small Business Administration Administrator
22. John Morton, Director, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement
23. Nancy Sutley, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality
Department of Defense Officials
24. Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
25. Sergey Saveliev, Deputy Head, Roscosmos (Russian Federal Space Agency)
26. Joao Vale De Almeida, Ambassador, European Union to the U.S.
27. Steve MacLean, President, Canadian Space Agency
28. Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry & Minister of State, Gov. of Canada
29. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State, Science & Technology, Canada
30. Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the U.S.
31. Keiji Tachikawa, President, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)
32. Michael B. Oren, Ambassador of Israel to the U.S.
33. Kim Beazley, Ambassador of Australia to the U.S.
34. Dan Goldin, Former NASA Administrator
35. Michael Griffin, Former NASA Administrator
36. Dan Mulville, Former NASA Deputy Administrator
37. Gen. John Dailey, Director, Smithsonian Air & Space Museum; former NASA Deputy Administrator
Arts, Entertainment & Other
38. Geraldo Rivera, Fox news
39. Gregory Hart, Fox news
40. Kevin Sorbo, Actor
41. Joe Gibbs, Gibbs Racing
42. Howard Bernstein, Channel 9 News
43. Leon Harris, WJLA News
44. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN White House Correspondent
45. Vernice “Fly Girl” Armour, motivational speaker
46. Peter Guber, Mandalay Entertainment
47. James Horner, Composer
48. Paula Kerger, President & CEO, Public Broadcasting System
49. Lee Perryman
50. Peter Cullen, Voice Actor
51. Alan Parsons, Musician
52. Mark Wolfe, Producer
53. Stefan Sonenfield, Producer
54. Zen Cymbala, NBC
55. Hector Bustamante, Actor
56. Steve Wozniak, Apple Computer co-founder
57. Jimmy Buffet, Musician
58. Gloria Estefan, Musician
59. Barry Corbin, Actor
60. Diana Krall, Musician
61. Ted Kennedy, Jr.
62. Kiley Kennedy
63. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
64. Katherine Townsend
VIP lists like this one are generally only valid for the day they're issued (the day the launch is scheduled for), NASA officials have said. If bad weather scrubs today's launch — which is 70 percent likely, according to the latest forecasts — the list for the next attempt might be different.
Atlantis also has launch windows open Saturday and Sunday, with better chances of success. The odds of a weather-related scrub are 40 percent on Saturday and 50 percent on Sunday, NASA officials said.
Atlantis is embarking on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The shuttle will drop off 9,500 pounds (4,309 kilograms) of supplies and spare parts for the orbiting lab, along with several experiments.
This article was reprinted with permission from SPACE.com.
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