Atlantis in about-turn surprise

Atlantis being carried to safety todayNasa took the space shuttle Atlantis off the launch pad today – then changed their minds and sent her back.

The craft was a mile into the ten-hour journey to the Vehicle Assembly Building when the surprising about-turn occurred.

She was being carried on a giant crawler transporter because of fears of a storm bearing down on the Kennedy Space Center from Cuba. But when forecasts of Tropical Storm Ernesto’s intensity were re-evaluated, space chiefs decided to weather it out. The storm is due to pass through tomorrow night.

Nasa are keen to get Atlantis into space before the current launch window closes on September 7. Atlantis was due to lift off on Sunday but that was cancelled after the launch tower was struck by lightning.

Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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