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Sat, Aug 20, 2005

Discovery Delayed

WX Scrubs Return Flight

Weather concerns have caused NASA to delay the return of space shuttle Discovery to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 747 and shuttle combination departed from California Friday and spent the night at Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana.

Managers are scheduled to meet Sunday morning to determine if the shuttle will continue home or wait another day for weather. They're taking plenty of precautions with this journey. An Air Force KC-135 has flown ahead of the shuttle to report on weather enroute.

After landing at Edwards Air Force Base on August 9th, Discovery was defueled, purged of hazardous substances and fitted with a drag reducing tail cone. The orbiter was then attached to ride home on top of the specially modified 747.

The next Space Shuttle mission, STS-121, is now scheduled for March 2006. Discovery will take the place of Atlantis, which will be used to fly STS-115, carrying Space Station truss segments that are too heavy for Discovery.

Atlantis will avoid flying back-to-back missions as previously scheduled.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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