Next Chance: Independence Day!
ANN REALTIME REPORTING 07.02.06 1500 EDT -- For the second day
in a row, the weatherman's predictions of storm clouds hanging over
the scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery have come
true... as NASA was forced to stand down from its countdown for the
second day in a row.
"We have been here before," NASA Shuttle Launch Director Mike
Lienbach (above) said during a press conference announcing the
scrubbed launch. "The key is after a year of preparation, and after
a very careful countdown... you don't want to get into a rush and
do something that is not smart from a weather standpoint."
However, the timing may turn out to be fortuitous... as the next
scheduled liftoff now moves to Tuesday, July 4 at 2:38 pm EDT...
giving NASA the opportunity to light off one very big rocket,
just as many across the United States will be doing the same in
their celebrations of Independence Day.
No launch attempt is scheduled for Monday, so that NASA has time
to give the shuttle the once over, and replenish the hydrogen fuel
cells that provide the shuttle with power while it is in orbit.
Should Discovery take off into orbit Tuesday, it would be the
first manned mission NASA has sent up on July 4.
Weather remains a
concern, as scattered thunderstorms are forecast throughout the
week. However, the anvil clouds that have loomed over the Cape this
weekend are expected to be less prevalent Tuesday. NASA reports
there is only a 40 percent chance storms could bump the mission
from Tuesday -- down from the 70 percent chance that was predicted
NASA's launch of Space Shuttle Discovery at Kennedy Space
Center, Fla., was scrubbed Saturday due to inclement weather. The
primary concern was the presence of anvil clouds and thunderstorms
(and take our word for it, there was some NASTY stuff on the
outskirts of the launch area--E-I-C) within 20 miles of the launch
During their 12-day mission, Commander Steve Lindsey and the
Discovery crew will continue evaluating new safety procedures
during a visit to the International Space Station. At least two
spacewalks are planned. Steven Lindsey commands a crew of five
American astronauts, Pilot Mark Kelly and Mission Specialists
Michael Fossum, Lisa Nowak, Stephanie Wilson and Piers Sellers, and
one astronaut from the European Space Agency, Thomas Reiter. This
is the 18th U.S. flight to the International Space Station and the
32nd flight for Space Shuttle Discovery.
In Discovery's payload bay, the multi-purpose logistics module
Leonardo, built by the Italian Space Agency, will deliver more than
two tons of supplies, equipment and tools on its fourth trip to the
While docked, the STS-121 crew will test new equipment and
procedures to improve shuttle safety, as well as make repairs to
the station. Reiter will remain with the Expedition 13 crew on the
The next launch attempt for Discovery's STS-121 mission to the
International Space Station is set for Sunday, July 2, at 3:26 p.m.
EDT. Commentary on NASA Television will begin with fueling of the
shuttle's external tank at 5 a.m. followed by full coverage at 9:30
The forecast for Sunday shows a 60 percent probability of
weather prohibiting launch.