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Shuttle launch delayed at least 24 hours
Updated: Tue, Oct 1, 2002, 8:14 PM ET (0014 GMT)
Originally Posted: Tue, Oct 1, 2002, 4:49 PM ET (2049 GMT)
STS-112 patch (NASA) NASA announced Tuesday afternoon that the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis will be delayed at least 24 hours, and perhaps longer, because of the possibility of a hurricane hitting the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The launch of Atlantis on mission STS-112, previously scheduled for between 2 and 6 pm EDT (1800 to 2200 GMT) on October 2, will be delayed at least one day while NASA evaluates the threat Hurricane Lili poses to JSC. Late Tuesday CBS News reported that JSC had moved up to "level 3" hurricane protection status, effectively delaying the launch until Friday because preparations will begin to shut down computer systems in mission control should an evaculation of JSC be required. As of Wednesday afternoon the hurricane had been upgraded to Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson 1-to-5 hurricane severity scale; the storm is forecast to make landfall in Louisiana or east Texas late Thursday or early Friday. While the storm doesn't pose a direct threat to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA officials would like to allow JSC employees in Florida for the launch to return to their families before the storm hits. NASA also wants to avoid having the shuttle in orbit should mission control at JSC be evacuated, since there is no full-fledged backup site. This is the first time a shuttle launch has been delayed because of weather problems at JSC, according to Florida Today.
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