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

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

Fighting the Islamic State

Students take part in a demonstration as one of them holds pictures of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran November 4, 2010. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/Files

Iran supreme leader blames West for Islamic State rise, wants regional solution

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Western powers on Tuesday for the rise of Islamic State (IS) insurgents in Iraq and Syria and said they had no business tampering with the region's geopolitics.  Full Article 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

HK Protests

HK Protests

Hong Kong protesters plan march after fruitless talks with government.  Full Article 

Double Murder

Double Murder

Thailand tourist murder suspects retract confessions.  Full Article 

Rousseff in Lead

Rousseff in Lead

Brazil's Rousseff pulls ahead of Neves before Sunday's election - poll.  Full Article 

Indonesia Cabinet

Indonesia Cabinet

Indonesia president to make new cabinet picks after 8 rejected.  Full Article 

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

J&J aims for 1 million Ebola vaccine doses in 2015.  Full Article 

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad Bombing

Baghdad restaurant bombs kill 21  Full Article 

Canada On Alert

Canada On Alert

Canada raises terrorism threat level, cites Islamist chatter.  Full Article 

Foreign Threat?

Foreign Threat?

Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on.  Full Article 

Iran Nuclear Talks

Iran Nuclear Talks

Exclusive: Iran offers "compromises" in nuclear talks, West unmoved  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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