Monday, April 19, 2010

Rollout for shuttle Atlantis delayed due to lightning

Lightning is delaying shuttle Atlantis from making the 3.4 mile crawl to launch pad 39A tonight.

The shuttle was supposed to leave the Vehicle Assembly Building atop the space center's giant crawler-transporter at 8 p.m., but it's postponed at least one hour because there's lighting within 20 nautical miles.

NASA officials are optimistic the weather will improve for a 9 p.m. rollout. A light rain has been falling throughout the night, but officials said that's not a problem for the shuttle.

The latest the shuttle would move tonight is 10 p.m.

If that doesn't work, officials will try again Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Under the current schedule, this would be the final flight for Atlantis - and so the final time that KSC workers will get to see the orbiter roll out from the VAB toward the pad.

NASA is targeting a May 14 launch to the International Space Station. Atlantis will be carrying a crew of six, including Commander Ken Ham, Pilot Tony Antonelli and Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman, Michael Good, Piers Sellers and Steve Bowen. They'll be delivering supplies and a Russian-built mini-research module.

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