Bad weather delays space shuttle landing

 

Nasa delayed the landing of space shuttle Endeavour today due to bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and may have to divert the spaceship to a backup landing site in California.

Endeavour is returning from a successful renovation mission to the International Space Station and had been scheduled to land in Florida at 1:19 p.m. EST (1819 GMT).

"Currently, the forecast is no-go," Alan Poindexter of Mission Control in Houston radioed to Endeavour commander Chris Ferguson.

The next landing opportunity in Florida is at 2:54 p.m. EST (1954 GMT) but meteorologists expected thunderstorms and wind gusts near the Kennedy Space Center would still exceed the limits NASA imposes for safety reasons.

With weather conditions also expected to be marginal on Monday for a Florida landing, flight directors could divert Endeavour to the backup landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California. A touchdown there would occur at 4:25 p.m. EST (2125 GMT).

Weather conditions at the Mojave desert base are forecast to be suitable for a shuttle landing.

Endeavour is returning from a marathon home-improvement mission at the International Space Station.

The crew delivered and installed a water recycling system that will enable Nasa to add three more astronauts to the permanent live-aboard crew and repaired the station's power system.

A Russian cargo ship arrived at the station today with fuel, water and supplies for the crew. Nasa's next station visit is slated for February when the outpost's last solar wing panel will be installed.

Reuters