Bad weather forces shuttle to skip 1st landing try

September 10, 2009 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
This image provided by NASA shows Space Shuttle Discovery as seen from the International Space Station as the two spacecraft begin their relative separation Tuesday Sept. 8, 2009. Discovery's astronauts aimed for a Thursday evening landing to wrap up their successful space station delivery mission, but late summer storms threatened to keep them up an extra day or two. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) -- Bad weather has delayed space shuttle Discovery's homecoming.

NASA decided to skip its first landing attempt late Thursday afternoon. Mission Control ordered the seven astronauts to keep circling the world while they waited out stiff and rain in Florida.

The second landing attempt is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. Thursday. If poor weather is still an issue, the shuttle will have to try to come home Friday.

The forecast for Florida on Friday is worse, with little improvement Saturday. NASA says if necessary, it will consider the backup site in California as early as Friday.

There was a bit of excitement earlier Thursday when the astronauts steered clear of a mysterious piece of orbiting space junk.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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