Rain delays space shuttle launch; now set for Fri.

Nov 04, 2010 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
The AMerican flag and orbiter flag fly as the space shuttle Discovery sits on Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39-A Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Thursday's planned launch was scrubbed due to bad weather. NASA officials plan to try again Friday afternoon. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP) -- NASA will try again Friday to send Discovery off on its final journey, after a series of postponements for the oldest and most traveled space shuttle.

Just before daybreak Thursday, mission managers called off an afternoon liftoff because of storms.

Rain was pounding the area, and meteorologists said there was little chance the weather would break in time for launch. Indeed, at the planned liftoff time, it was drizzling.

"As crazy luck would have it," the area's monthlong drought ended Thursday, said Pete Nickolenko, assistant launch director.

"It was really very clear today that it just wasn't looking to be our day weather-wise," he said.

On Friday, the weather outlook improves. There is a 60 percent chance that conditions will be acceptable for launch once the cold front passes through, although wind will be a concern.

Managers will meet again early Friday to evaluate the weather. If they feel they have a decent shot, they will give the go-ahead to fuel Discovery. Liftoff on Friday would be at 3:04 p.m.

Discovery already has been delayed by gas leaks and an electrical problem.

The mission to the is now running four days late. It will be the final flight for Discovery, which faces a museum retirement as the shuttle program winds down.

Six veteran astronauts are assigned to the 11-day flight. They have been at Kennedy Space Center for the past week, waiting out all the delays.

NASA has until Sunday to launch Discovery, otherwise the shuttle will remain grounded until the beginning of December because of unacceptable solar angles.

It's officially NASA's next-to-last shuttle flight. Endeavour is scheduled to lift off at the end of February. An extra mission may be added in mid-2011, if money is forthcoming.

The White House wants NASA focused on next-generation rockets and spacecraft that could carry astronauts to asteroids and Mars. The plan, for now, also calls for private business to develop rockets capable of carrying to the space station. Until then, American space travelers will need to hitch rides on Russian Soyuz vessels.

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

More information: NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission-pages/shuttle/main/index.html

3 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Storms in Fla. delay space shuttle launch again

Nov 04, 2010

(AP) -- Storms prevented Discovery from blasting off on its final journey Thursday, the latest in a series of postponements for NASA's oldest and most traveled space shuttle.

NASA Updates Shuttle Target Launch Date for Hubble Mission

Jun 07, 2007

NASA managers officially are targeting Sept. 10, 2008, for the launch of the fifth and final space shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, Atlantis' seven astronauts will repair ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.