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Shuttle launch faces weather, technical issues
Posted: Wed, Feb 27, 2002, 7:11 AM ET (1211 GMT)
STS-109 patch (NASA) Thursday's launch of the shuttle Columbia could be threatened by weather and technical problems, shuttle managers said Tuesday. Cold weather is the primary concern: forecasts call for a launch temperature of 4 degrees C (39 degrees F), within one degree of safe limits for the launch. The exact safe limit is a function of temperature, humidity, and wind speed and direction, and so could change before launch. Meteorologists now say there is a 60 percent chance of acceptable weather, down from 70 percent on Monday. Shuttle managers are also investigating the possibility that wheel bearings in the shuttle's nose were not tested properly; managers said late Tuesday that it was too soon to tell whether those reports were valid. The launch of mission STS-109 is still planned for 6:48 am EST (1148 GMT) Thursday.
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