Thursday, 7 February 2008

Bad Weather Delayed Space Shuttle Launch

NASA fueled shuttle Atlantis for ascent Thursday, agitated over the success of ammunition barometer aliment but alert that bad acclimate could adjournment the mission to add addition science lab to the all-embracing amplitude station.

Forecasters said there was a 70 percent adventitious that rain, clouds and possibly alike a astringent afternoon thunderstorm would accumulate Atlantis on the pad for yet addition day. The amplitude shuttle already is two months backward in carrying the European lab, Columbus, to the amplitude station.

Faulty ammunition gauges ashore Atlantis in December. Engineers formed annular the alarm and through the holidays to fix the problem, which angry out to be a bad adapter in the alien ammunition tank.

Their efforts paid off. All four ammunition gauges arrested out accomplished as the admission entered its final few hours. NASA never got so far in the admission in December, and the action was axiomatic in barrage ascendancy and astronaut quarters, area the seven-man aggregation ill-fitted up.

"We accept a acceptable arrangement and we're accessible to go fly," said barrage administrator Doug Lyons. "Everything looks absolute acceptable out there."

Even NASA's commonly emotion-free boss, Michael Griffin, was enthusiastic. He said he was abiding Atlantis' ammunition gauges would abide to assignment appropriately and predicted no added problems with the system.

The ammunition gauges are allotment of a analytical assurance arrangement to advice ensure that the capital engines do not run on an accidentally abandoned catchbasin during the 8 1/2-minute ascend to orbit. They accept performed accidental during countdowns for about three years and adjourned several launches.

As for the weather, "We're still talking what, 60, 70 percent anticipation of no-go. But it doesn't attending too bad," Griffin said, affairs abreast blinds and attractive out a window at the blurred sky. "We've launched on canicule back we said we couldn't and we've adjourned on canicule back everybody anticipation we could."

Columbus — a $2 billion high-tech class — is the European Amplitude Agency's primary addition to the amplitude station. In the authoritative for 23 years, the lab has endured base redesigns and slowdowns, as able-bodied as a cardinal of shuttle postponements and two shuttle accidents.

It will accompany the U.S. lab, Destiny, already aerial for seven years. The abundant bigger Japanese lab Kibo, or Hope, will crave three shuttle flights to get off the ground, alpha in March.

The Europeans additionally are on the border of ablution their new burden ship, Jules Verne. It's appointed to bang off from French Guiana in aboriginal March.

"There's activity to be a lot of pride, a lot of bodies with acceptable animosity in their stomachs, back these things go up," said Europe's amplitude base affairs manager, Alan Thirkettle.

The European Amplitude Bureau already has spent added than $7 billion on the base affairs and affairs to advance addition $6 billion by 2015, Thirkettle said.

Besides Columbus, Atlantis will bead off a new amplitude base resident, a French Air Force accepted who will booty the abode of NASA astronaut Daniel Tani and get Columbus working. Tani will acknowledgment to Earth aboard the shuttle, catastrophe a mission of about four months.

NASA is afraid to get Atlantis aerial as anon as accessible to accumulate animate its plan for six shuttle missions this year. The amplitude bureau faces a 2010 borderline for finishing the base and backward the shuttles.

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