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Storms dampen forecast for Endeavour launch

Cloudy weather and strong winds have increased the chances of a delay to the planned launch of the space shuttle Endeavour from 20 to 30 percent, according to NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
 in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Independent U.S.

A passing thunderstorm thunderstorm, violent, local atmospheric disturbance accompanied by lightning, thunder, and heavy rain, often by strong gusts of wind, and sometimes by hail.  pushed back by several hours the scheduled rollback of the rotating service structure (RSS (Really Simple Syndication) A syndication format that was developed by Netscape in 1999 and became very popular for aggregating updates to blogs and the news sites. RSS has also stood for "Rich Site Summary" and "RDF Site Summary. ) around the shuttle, typically the last big movement on the launch pad that unveils the spacecraft on the eve On the Eve (Накануне in Russian) is the third novel by famous Russian writer Ivan Turgenev, best known for his short stories and the novel Fathers and Sons.  of its flight.

"Launch team members are closely monitoring weather conditions at NASA Kennedy Space Center Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) U.S.

launch site for manned space missions. [U.S. Hist.: WB, So:562]

See : Astronautics
's Launch Pad 39A. There are no obvious indications of any damage at this time as thunderstorms pass through the area," NASA said on Thursday.

"Engineers will do a thorough evaluation of data after the storm passes to confirm there were no issues," it added.

"If no issues are found during the data review, launch still will be on track for tomorrow at 3:47 pm (1947 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) See UTC.

GMT - Universal Time 1

NASA said the rotating service structure (RSS) around the shuttle would now be rolled away at 10 pm to 10:30 pm Thursday (0200 to 0230 GMT on Friday).

Endeavour's final space flight, and the penultimate shuttle liftoff, is drawing hundreds of thousands of onlookers to the area around Cape Canaveral, including President Barack Obama and his family, who plan to watch it from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday.

The 30-year space shuttle program will end for good after the final launch by Atlantis, planned for late June.

The same weather front that brought deadly storms to the southern state of Alabama is dampening the forecast in Florida, too, though the worst should pass by Friday morning, according to NASA weather officer Kathy Winters.

"Our big concerns are crosswinds and (low cloud) ceilings lingering in the area," Winters said.

External tank fueling is set to start Friday at 6:22 am (1022 GMT).

If weather forces a delay, NASA has other launch windows set for Saturday and Sunday.

The six-member crew aboard Endeavour for its 14-day mission to the International Space Station includes one Italian astronaut from the European Space Agency.

The shuttle is being commanded by US astronaut Mark Kelly, whose lawmaker wife Gabrielle Giffords is also going to attend the launch.

Giffords was shot in the head at a grocery store political meeting in January, and has been undergoing months of difficult rehab due to a left brain injury.
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Author:Staff Reporter
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Apr 29, 2011
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