Weather Delays Shuttle Landing

Bad weather at Cape Canaveral has delayed the landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis until tomorrow. Florida's weather is so "iffy" NASA still doesn't know where it will come down, as Jim Bell reports.

Space shuttle mission managers waved off two possible landings at the Kennedy Space Center today, saying they'll try again tomorrow. Spokeswoman Kylie Clem:

"We're gonna continue and watch the weather over at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida slightly improving maybe for tomorrow. We're going to watch it closely as we move into tomorrow morning. But we do have opportunities to land over in California as well at the Edwards Air Force Base, and the weather is looking fabulous over there."

Clem says they prefer to have the shuttles land in Florida because of the expense of transporting the orbiter across the country piggy-backed on a Boeing 747, and tomorrow's windows of opportunity appear to favor a Florida landing.  

"There are three opportunities to land at the Kennedy Space Center and two at the Edwards Air Force Base."

Clem says with those odds they're going to hold out for Florida as long as they can.

"There are the possibilities of landing in Florida. The first one early in the morning may be the best, given the weather could probably increase in intensity around there throughout the day, and then the next two opportunities overlap each other to either California or Florida, so we'll have to see."

Clem says the one thing she can say for sure is that Atlantis is coming home tomorrow — at one landing site or the other — after its risky 11 day mission to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope.  A mission everyone agrees was a resounding success. 

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.