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Shuttle Landing Delayed


8 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. space administration ordered space shuttle "Discovery" to delay its planned landing by at least 90 minutes because of unfavorable weather.

The announcement was released by NASA's mission control center in Houston, Texas:

"This is mission control Houston to recap events of the morning," the announcement said. "'Discovery' crew was waved off of their first opportunity for a landing today. That due to low cloud ceiling at the Kennedy Space Center runway -- low broken cloud deck at about 1,000 feet [304 meters] and lower. They have refocused efforts now for the second and final opportunity for a landing of 'Discovery' today."

The new landing time for the seven astronauts was set for 06:22 local time.

This flight to the International Space Station may be the last one for a shuttle for some time. NASA grounded the shuttle fleet after a piece of insulating foam broke off the external fuel tank of "Discovery" during the 26 July. The same problem led to broken heat tiles that doomed the shuttle "Columbia" in February 2003. The problem was supposed to have been corrected.

(Reuters/AFP/AP)
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