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National Briefing / Florida

Lightning delays shuttle launch

July 12, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

NASA has once again postponed space shuttle Endeavor's launch to the International Space Station, this time by at least 24 hours to allow engineers to determine whether 11 lightning strikes around the launchpad Friday damaged the orbiter.

According to Mike Moses, the shuttle mission-integration manager at Kennedy Space Center, lightning struck within one-third of a mile of the launchpad 11 times during severe thunderstorms Friday.

Endeavour itself was not touched, but seven of the strikes hit the pad's lightning-protection system. A launch today would be at 7:13 p.m. if NASA clears the shuttle for flight.

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