Cloudy skies delay space shuttle's homecoming

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:41pm IST

The Space Shuttle Discovery is seen after it undocked from the International Space Station with the Earth in the background in this handout image from NASA TV April 17, 2010. REUTERS/NASA TV

The Space Shuttle Discovery is seen after it undocked from the International Space Station with the Earth in the background in this handout image from NASA TV April 17, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/NASA TV

Related Topics

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - NASA delayed the shuttle Discovery's homecoming from an International Space Station servicing mission until Tuesday after cloudy skies scuttled two landing attempts on Monday, NASA officials said.

Touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida was rescheduled for 7:33 a.m. EDT (1133 GMT) on Tuesday, with several backup opportunities available both in Florida and in California at the space agency's base in the Mojave Desert.

NASA prefers to land in Florida to avoid the costly and time-consuming cross-country ferry flight to return the shuttle to Florida for processing.

Discovery's planned 13-day mission already had been extended by a day so astronauts could use the station's communications system to relay heat shield inspection results.

NASA discovered the shuttle's Ku-band communications antenna was broken shortly after Discovery's April 5 launch. The inspection was implemented after the 2003 Columbia accident, which was blamed on a breach in its heat shield.

Though Discovery has enough supplies to remain in orbit until Wednesday, NASA will land on Tuesday even if it means diverting to Edwards Air Force Base in California, flight director Bryan Lunney said.

Discovery spent 10 days at the space station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations that is due to be completed this year after more than a decade of construction 220 miles (352 km) above Earth. The shuttle delivered a new ammonia cooling system, science experiments, a fourth U.S. sleeping berth and a darkroom for Earth observations and astronomical studies from the Destiny laboratory.

Three shuttle flights remain to complete outfitting of the station before the shuttle fleet is retired.

The weather was not expected to affect NASA's plans to move the shuttle Atlantis to the launch pad on Monday night in preparation for launch on its final mission on May 14.

(Editing by Jane Sutton and Paul Simao)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

A VIOLENT WORLD

Hundreds massacred in South Sudan

Hundreds massacred in South Sudan

Rebel troops overrun the city of Bentiu in South Sudan, killing hundreds of civilians. Nathan Frandino reports.  Video 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ferry Tragedy

Ferry Tragedy

Divers feel with their hands for corpses in depths of S.Korean ferry.  Full Article 

Australia Determined

Australia Determined

Australia vows to keep searching to solve missing Malayasian plane mystery.  Full Article 

Ukraine Unrest

Ukraine Unrest

Ukraine president calls for new anti-rebel offensive as crisis deal falters.  Full Article 

Reassuring Allies

Reassuring Allies

Obama reassures Japan, other allies on China ahead of visit.  Full Article 

Rising Tensions

Rising Tensions

U.S. vows more sanctions on Russia unless tensions ease in Ukraine.  Full Article 

Stowaway Rests

Stowaway Rests

Teen who stowed away on Hawaii flight resting in hospital.  Full Article 

Thai Crisis

Thai Crisis

Thai court gives PM time to build defence in abuse of power case.  Full Article 

Veolia Apologetic

Veolia Apologetic

Chairman of Veolia unit in China apologises after water pollution.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage