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Bad weather may up-end shuttle launch plans: NASA

File image of Shuttle Endeavour.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 28, 2009
Stormy Florida weather may push back the launch of the shuttle Endeavour from mid-June to mid-July, NASA said Thursday, as Mother Nature continued to wreak havoc with the US space program's scheduling.

"The team right now is just watching the weather," said John Shannon, manager space shuttle program, who said NASA has allotted a three-day window from June 12 to June 15 to launch the Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral.

After that, Shannon said "we will be slipping around the July 12 date."

Earlier in the week, rainy, blustery weather in Florida delayed landing of the shuttle Atlantis for three days before the space vehicle was diverted to California.

Now space officials said inclement weather may hamper efforts to bring Endeavour to the launch pad on time.

"We are encountering a lot of weather difficulties. The weather in Florida has been very bad and we will need to roll the vehicle this weekend starting on Saturday," Shannon said.

"If we are not able to do the roll, that will put the launch day in jeopardy."

The Endeavour mission aims to continue assembly of the Japanese Kibo laboratory at the International Space Station, on what will be the 127th mission for the space shuttle program since 1981.

NASA plans to make eight more flights before ending the shuttle program in September 2010. Besides Endeavour, the US shuttle program has two other vehicles, Atlantis and Discovery.

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Atlantis lands in California after successful Hubble fix
Edwards Air Force Base, California (AFP) May 24, 2009
The space shuttle Atlantis made a picture perfect landing in Calfornia Sunday, nearly two days behind schedule at the end of a successful mission to repair and upgrade the Hubble telescope. Bypassing Florida because of uncertain weather conditions, the shuttle and its crew of seven landed at this desert air base 160 kilometers (100 miles) northeast of Los Angeles after 12 days, 21 hours and ... read more

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