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The Nation

Poor weather delays space shuttle's return

NASA could move Atlantis' landing to California today.

June 22, 2007|John Johnson Jr. | Times Staff Writer

Bad weather in Florida caused NASA to cancel Thursday's scheduled landing of the space shuttle Atlantis.

The shuttle crew, under the command of Col. Rick Sturckow, will make another attempt today.

Atlantis just concluded a 10-day stay at the International Space Station, where crew members installed a new set of solar power panels and a portion of the starboard truss, the backbone of the station.

Weather officials said the Cape Canaveral landing zone was locked in a typical summer weather pattern that features heavy clouds and rain in the afternoon.

The first landing opportunity today at Kennedy Space Center is 10:16 a.m. Pacific time. If the weather remains uncooperative, Atlantis will have a second chance at 12:54 p.m. Pacific time.

There are three options for landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert today if NASA decides to scrap further attempts at Kennedy.

The first is at 12:49 p.m. Pacific time. The next two are at 2:24 p.m. and 3:59 p.m.. Possible high winds are forecast for today.

Atlantis could remain in orbit through Saturday, NASA officials said.

Meanwhile, the space station crew attempted to bring the balky Russian computers back to a normal operating configuration after an unexpected shutdown last week turned off the oxygen generating system.

When the crew disconnected the jumper cables that bypassed a switch protecting the computers from power surges, the computers did not come back up.

The crew reattached the cables to restart the computers Thursday afternoon and is continuing to troubleshoot the problems in the German-built system.

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john.johnson@latimes.com

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