[QODLink]
Americas
Bad weather delays Atlantis landing
Crew to try again on Friday after thunderstorm threat postpones homecoming.
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2007 05:32 GMT
The crew will try again to land the space
shuttle on Friday [Reuters/Nasa]
Nasa will try to bring US space shuttle Atlantis and seven astronauts home on Friday after clouds and rain at its Florida landing site prevented a scheduled touchdown on Thursday.
 
The shuttle has been in orbit for 13 days to install solar power panels on the International Space Station and prepare it for new European and Japanese laboratories.
Flight directors had two opportunities to land the shuttle on Thursday, but thick clouds covered the vicinity of the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and thunderstorms threatened.

The shuttle has enough fuel and supplies to stay in space until Sunday, but it cannot land in rain because it could damage the thousands of ceramic tiles that protect the spaceship's belly from the fiery heat of re-entry.

 

Flight directors told Atlantis commander Frederick Sturckow to lower the shuttle's orbit to add an extra landing opportunity on Friday at the backup runway at Edwards Air Force Base in California, should poor weather continue to dog Florida.

 

New schedule

 

The first possible touchdown at Kennedy Space Center on Friday will be at 2:18 pm EDT (18:18 GMT) and a second at 3:54 pm, although flight directors could decide to divert Atlantis to California, with a possible landing occurring there at 3:49 pm EDT.

 

The shuttle has been in orbit
for 13 days [Reuters/Nasa]
Additional California landing opportunities are at 5:24 pm and 6:59 pm.

 

But weather conditions at both sites are questionable, with more rain and clouds in store for Kennedy Space Centre and high winds forecast for the Mojave Desert site.

 

"We're going to be fighting the same challenges at KSC. At

Edwards, the winds are going to pick up," Antonelli said. "We

are going to try to land tomorrow," he added.

 

While NASA battled weather on the ground, its Russian partners in the $100 bn space station programme wrestled with the outpost's computers.

 

The primary system shut down last week while astronauts were hooking up the station's new solar panels.

 

Station commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineer Oleg Kotov were able to bypass suspect circuitry and eventually revive the computers, which are needed to keep the station properly positioned in orbit.

 

The station crew disconnected two of the three computer systems on Thursday from the jumper cables used to bypass the circuits but failed to restart the network.

 

A third computer system remained operational.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.