May 22, 2009
The landing of space shuttle Atlantis has been postponed until tomorrow morning at the earliest* because of bad weather at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Atlantis had two landing opportunities at Kennedy today, but both were waved off this morning because of elevated crosswinds, a low cloud ceiling and nearby thunderstorms, all three of which fell outside NASA's parameters for a shuttle touchdown.
The first of four landing opportunities tomorrow is at 9:16 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time) at Kennedy, but continued inclement weather in Florida could shift the site to Edwards Air Force Base in California, which has two landing opportunities Saturday. Landing in California is not as desirable because the shuttle must then be ferried back to Kennedy atop a specially equipped NASA 747 at a reported cost of $1.8 million. Such was the case after space shuttle Endeavour landed at Edwards at the end of November—click here to see an overhead photograph of the orbiter hitching a ride back to the East Coast.
Mar 28, 2009 | 2
Space shuttle Discovery touched down safely at 3:14 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The landing time was pushed back from 1:39 P.M. due to uncertain weather at the landing site earlier in the day.
Discovery delivered a 45-foot (14-meter) truss segment to the ISS, completing the station's 335-foot (102-meter) "backbone," as well as the final set of solar arrays needed to power the station once its crew swells from three to six in the coming months. The ISS now boasts 38,400 square feet (3,570 square meters) of U.S. solar panels, nearly a full acre, generating about 120 kilowatts of electricity. (Unlike solar-powered buildings here on Earth, the space station doesn't need to worry about cloud cover.)
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