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Fla. weather delays landing of shuttle

The Baltimore Sun

Bad weather in Florida caused NASA to cancel yesterday's scheduled landing of the space shuttle Atlantis.

The shuttle crew, under the command of Col. Rick Sturckow, will make another attempt today.

Atlantis just concluded a 10-day stay at the International Space Station, where crew members installed a new set of solar panels and part of the starboard truss, the backbone of the station.

Weather officials said the Cape Canaveral landing zone was locked in under a typical summer weather pattern that frequently features heavy clouds and afternoon rain.

The first landing opportunity today at the Kennedy Space Center is at 1:16 p.m. If the weather remains uncooperative, Atlantis will have a second chance at 3:54 p.m.

There are three options for landing at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert of California if NASA decides to scrap further attempts at Kennedy.

The first is at 12:49 p.m. Pacific time. The next two are at 2:24 p.m. and 3:59 p.m. Possible high winds are forecast for today.

Atlantis could remain in orbit through tomorrow, NASA officials said.

Meanwhile, the space station crew attempted yesterday to bring the balky Russian computers back on line after an unexpected shutdown last week that turned off the oxygen generating system at the station.

The attempt failed. When the crew disconnected the jumper cables that bypassed a switch protecting the computers from power surges, the computers did not come back up.

The crew reattached the jumper cables to restart the computers yesterday afternoon. The crew is continuing to trouble-shoot the problems in the German-built computer system.

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