NASA clears shuttle for launch, weather improving

Aug 23, 2009 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer

(AP) -- NASA has cleared space shuttle Discovery for liftoff Tuesday, and the weather looks promising as long as thunderstorms stay away during fueling.

After meeting Sunday afternoon, managers decided Discovery is in good shape to fly to the international space station. A power controller issue - one had to be replaced a week ago in the shuttle - did not stand in the way of the launch.

The chairman of the mission management team, Mike Moses, said there is no way of knowing with certainty whether the new power controller in Discovery might break like the old one did. To minimize the risk of a power failure, some equipment will be left on longer than usual - rather than shutting it down and then turning it back on, he said.

Two other power controllers failed in the lab at Johnson Space Center earlier this summer, adding to NASA's concern. Engineers are comfortable with the workaround for Discovery, Moses said.

Forecasters, meanwhile, said there is an 80 percent chance the weather will cooperate for Discovery's 1:36 a.m. liftoff. That's better than previous forecasts.

But there is a 40 percent chance that thunderstorms could interfere with Monday afternoon's fueling. A fueling delay of more than three hours would bump the flight into the next day.

"Obviously, the weather is going to be one of our challenges," Moses told reporters.

Discovery and seven astronauts will deliver about 17,000 pounds of space station supplies and equipment. Three spacewalks are planned during the 13-day flight.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Video reveals dramatic Spacex falcon rocket barge landing and launch

Related Stories

NASA: Good shot at Sunday shuttle launch

Mar 13, 2009

(AP) -- NASA feels it has a good shot at sending shuttle Discovery to the international space station on Sunday following repairs out at the launch pad.

Weather a threat to shuttle launch

Jun 30, 2006

The countdown for Saturday's launch of space shuttle Discovery is on schedule but the U.S. space agency is weary about the weather over Florida.

Recommended for you

Vesta—Ceres' little sister

19 minutes ago

Only around 60 million kilometres closer to the Sun than Ceres, another large rock is orbiting in the remote asteroid belt: Vesta. Although its diameter of approximately 530 kilometres makes it a bit too ...

Curiosity rover making tracks and observations

23 hours ago

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is continuing science observations while on the move this month. On April 16, the mission passed 10 kilometers (6.214 miles) of total driving since its 2012 landing, including ...

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.