Storms in Fla. delay space shuttle launch again

Nov 04, 2010 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer
Storm cllouds roll over the space shuttle Discovery after sunset Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2010, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Space shuttle Discovery's launch Thursday has been has been postponed because of stormy weather. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

(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.

Just before daybreak, mission managers called off the afternoon liftoff and said they would try again Friday.

Rain was pounding the area, and meteorologists said there was little chance the weather would break in time for Thursday's planned launch. The official forecast was 80 percent "no go."

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

"If it looked like there was any possible chance of giving it a shot, then I think we would have," he said. "It was really very clear today that it just wasn't looking to be our day weather-wise," Nickolenko said.

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

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 for liftoff. Liftoff on Friday would be at 3:03 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 spacecraft.

Explore further: Scientists find meteoritic evidence of Mars water reservoir

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

1 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

4 hours ago

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?

11 hours ago

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

14 hours ago

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

14 hours ago

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.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

15 hours ago

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

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.