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Shuttle launch delayed further
Posted: Sun, Aug 27, 2006, 2:52 PM ET (1852 GMT)
STS-115: on pad before launch (NASA/KSC) NASA has delayed the launch of the shuttle Atlantis at least one additional day, to Tuesday, to continue inspections of the orbiter after a lightning strike while keeping an eye on a developing hurricane. Shuttle managers, who decided Saturday to delay the launch from Sunday to Monday, said early Sunday that they needed additional time to perform inspections of the shuttle stack after a powerful bolt of lightning his the launch complex Friday afternoon. Of particular concern are the shuttle's two solid rocket boosters, which were powered down at the time of the strike, hence engineers don't have any data from the time the lighting hit itself to determine if there was any damage to their components. At the same time, NASA officials are keeping an eye on newly-formed Hurricane Ernesto in the Caribbean. The latest forecast has the storm making landfall on the west coast of Florida, just north of Tampa, later this week. Shuttle managers will weigh if they need to roll the shuttle back to the Vehicle Assembly Building as a protective measure, a decision that would have to be made soon given the time required to perform the rollback. One report indicated that NASA would "likely" roll the shuttle back.
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