NASA began moving the scaffolding that protects the space shuttle for bad weather

(AP) - NASA began moving the scaffolding that protects the space shuttle for bad weather early Thursday, despite lingering clouds and other weather woes that cast doubt on whether Discovery will blast off this week, reports Trend.

Discovery was scheduled to blast off Thursday evening and streak by a nearly full moon, taking seven astronauts on a mission to rewire the International Space Station.

As NASA resolved technical concerns Wednesday, two lurking weather problems gave NASA less than an even chance of launching Thursday. The official likelihood of good weather Thursday is only 40 percent and that drops to 30 percent Friday and nudges back up to 40 percent Saturday.

The biggest problem is a bank of low clouds that are sticking around because of a cold front coming through. NASA rules prohibit launching in low clouds because engineers need clear skies to observe the shuttle during ascent and in case of emergency, the shuttle commander needs to be able to see clearly enough to guide Discovery on a difficult back-flip maneuver to land back at Kennedy Space Center.

On top of that, all three overseas emergency landing sites in Spain and France are forecast to have bad weather and NASA won't launch unless one emergency landing site has clear weather.

If Discovery doesn't launch Thursday, Friday looks even worse because the forecast calls for winds that far exceed NASA's rules about safety for launch and emergency landings. On Saturday the winds still look too strong, but not quite as bad. The next best weather for launch really doesn't come until next Tuesday, shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters said.

NASA usually sloshes through weather problems for daytime summer launch tries and has easier times later in the year. Weather officer Tech. Sgt. Matt Timmerman said when he was assigned to Discovery's December night launch he figured the skies would be more cooperative.

"This is just a timing factor," Timmerman said. "It's more unfortunate than unusual."

NASA has through Dec. 17 to launch the shuttle on its mission so Discovery won't be in orbit when the new year starts because NASA worries about a computer change-of-date problem. But if Discovery is still grounded by Dec. 18, NASA may decide to keep trying anyway through the day after Christmas.

NASA wrestled with two technical concerns before resolving them Wednesday.

The first concern was a split-second power surge that occurred early Tuesday when power was about to be switched from the shuttle's launch platform to Discovery itself. Tests found no problems with the shuttle, main engines, boosters and external fuel tank.

The second involved a booster-seal glue that helps connect segments of the solid rocket boosters. A recent test by the manufacturer raised questions about whether the glue was as strong as it should be. After evaluating data, NASA managers concluded that the adhesive passed all the acceptable criteria and was good to fly.

Along with spacewalking astronauts rewiring the space station, Discovery will deliver a 2-ton addition and replace one of the space station's three crew members.

This is the first planned night launch in four years. NASA required daylight liftoffs for the three flights after the 2003 Columbia accident to make sure the agency could get good photos of the external fuel tank. Foam breaking off the tank at liftoff caused the damage that killed Columbia's seven astronauts.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Iran deal talks are adjourned until next week — EU
Iran deal talks are adjourned until next week — EU
Iran is likely to have direct talks with US - Iranian FM
Iran is likely to have direct talks with US - Iranian FM
Russian, Iranian top diplomats confirm commitment to Vienna talks to restore JCPOA - MFA
Russian, Iranian top diplomats confirm commitment to Vienna talks to restore JCPOA - MFA
Loading Bars
Latest
U.S. FAA says Verizon, AT&T can turn on more towers for 5G deployment
Belgium's total COVID-19 infections exceed 3 mln
Biden says he'll send troops to eastern Europe in ‘near term'
U.S. airlines cancel almost 5,000 flights ahead of Nor'easter
Argentina announces debt agreement with IMF
Canada's COVID-19 cases surpass 3 mln
Fake news, disinformation on COVID, is human rights violation: Pope Francis
Tunisia thwarts alleged terrorist attack targeting tourist areas
Turkey welcomes Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan ceasefire
UN chief calls for observing Olympic Truce
UN thanks Azerbaijan for contributions to budget of organization
Residents of Bina settlement express gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for establishment of Training and Service Complex (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Russia expands retaliatory list of EU representatives banned from entering country — MFA
Ten injured after bridge collapses in U.S. city Pittsburgh
Iran deal talks are adjourned until next week — EU
Erdogan to visit Ukraine on Feb 3 as part of mediation efforts
Germany's exports to UK continue to decline in 2021: Destatis
Azerbaijan's Agency for State Support to NGOs, Turkey's Ministry of Interior sign memorandum of co-op (PHOTO)
Embassy of India organised Blood Donation Drive (PHOTO)
Tractor hits mine in Azerbaijan's Fuzuli district
Uzbek Central Bank notes growth in volume of loans issued to individuals
Uzbekistan shares data on loan portfolio of its banks for 2021
Russian veterans urge to check Union of Armenians in Russia regarding film about Garegin Nzhdeh
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan reveals revenue data from communication and information services
Remains of Armenian soldier found in Azerbaijan's Fuzuli district
GDP of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan growing
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 3,564 more COVID-19 cases, 1,004 recoveries
Russia allocates credit line for construction of Iran`s Sirik power plant - minister
National Bank of Georgia to adopt regulations for cryptocurrency trading platforms
Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan discloses loans issued to population
Azerbaijan Entrepreneurship Development Fund to help businesses create corporate governance mechanisms
German RBC consulting company talks achievements in work on Azerbaijani market
Kazakh president calls on Nur Otan party members to focus on some priorities
Iran Oil Industry Pension Fund eyes to invest in oil and energy sectors
Uzbek UzAuto Motors to generate higher revenue in 2022
Azerbaijan’s Buta Airways becomes most active passenger carrier in Georgia
Kazakhstan-based Nostrum unveils oil production indicators for 2021
Turkmenistan assisting in delivery of Turkish humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
Azerbaijan to increase number of bus routes to Karabakh (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan discloses number of passengers of regular bus trips to liberated Shusha, Aghdam
President Ilham Aliyev congratulates president of Kazakhstan on election as chairman of Nur Otan party
Uzbekistan proposes India to develop co-op in healthcare, education and IT
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signs order on 30th anniversary of Khojaly genocide
Israel signs deal with Novavax for COVID vaccine
Azerbaijan's ANAMA builds new mobile field camp in Aghdam district (PHOTO)
TBC Capital shares data on mortgage loans issuance in Georgia
Turkmen Commodity Exchange discloses data on imports from East Asian countries
SOFAZ places €1 billion deposit with Central Bank of Turkey
Iran seeks to prevent import of luxury goods
India & 5 Central Asian Countries To Form Joint Working Group On Afghanistan
Azerbaijan's foreign trade turnover notably up in 2021
Azerbaijani deputy PM to attend opening ceremony of Olympic Winter Games in Beijing
Uzbekistan sees growth in agricultural production
India for ‘greater urgency’ in trade negotiations with EU, says EAM Jaishankar
Georgia increases textile exports to Turkey
Romanian energy minister to visit Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan records decline in foreign currency sales - chairman of CBA
Georgia’s imports of oil products from Kazakhstan plummet
Turkmenistan to increase electricity supply to Afghanistan
Central Bank of Azerbaijan names allocations made to support national currency rate in 2015
Azerbaijan to build astronomical station in Karabakh region
Use of cryptocurrency not endangering stability of Azerbaijani national currency - CBA
Central Bank of Azerbaijan plans to sign agreement with int’l consulting company
UNIDO to offer expertise for Turkmen energy sector
Central Bank of Azerbaijan names priorities for development of insurance sector
Our first president made huge contribution to strengthening of state - President Tokayev
Nur Otan party should be led by person who was nominated and supported by it in presidential election - Nazarbayev
CBA expects inflation to return to target range Azerbaijan in 2023
Devotion to interests of country has particular importance in politics - Kazakh president
Iran working on connecting of Gilan ports to national railway network
Share of electricity in Azerbaijan’s total exports down
Siraf Pars Port in Iran becomes country's major liquid gas exporter
Global food prices rise to highest level over past decade - FAO (Exclusive)
Decree regulating process of charity on part of big business to be issues in Kazakhstan
French 2021 economic growth strongest in 52 years at 7%
Kazakh-Russian copper deposit dev't project approved by Russia's Main Department of State Expertise
Azerbaijan reveals petroleum coke, oil bitumen exports
Buta Airways to resume flights to Mineralnye Vody in February
Turkmenistan sees decline in trade turnover with Azerbaijan
We'll return to issue of expediency of my further chairmanship in Nur Otan after some time - Tokayev
Representative body of Kazakhstan's Nur Otan party updated by 55%
Azerbaijan unveils volume of transactions via Apple Pay
Public councils created under Nur Otan party should become effective platform - Tokayev
Azerbaijani Central Bank not planning to create new legislative base to regulate digital banks
Central Bank discloses Azerbaijan's possible current account balance in 2022
Potential of Nur Otan party wasn't fully utilized at critical moment - Tokayev
Currency rate of Azerbaijani manat to be stable in 2022 - CBA
Military reforms, increasing of combat capability of troops to be priority in 2022 – Azerbaijan MoD
Dariga Nazarbayeva resigned from Kazakhstan Nur Otan party
Azerbaijan reveals Top 10 oil importers
Azerbaijani CBA forecasts increase in demand for foreign currency
Rothschild & Co eyes creation of special financial zones in Georgia
Azerbaijan increases share of natural gas in exports
Annual inflation to be above target range in Azerbaijan - CBA
Nur Otan Party needs to renew itself - Tokayev
Turkmen enterprise eyes to expand tomato production
Non-OPEC won’t return to pre-COVID levels of oil output
Azerbaijan defense minister expresses condolences to Pakistan
Additional barrels from OPEC+ back to market in 2022 to be less than headline figure
All news