Shuttle Endeavour gets green light to leave Florida on Wednesday
Space shuttle Endeavour still has the green light to depart Florida at dawn Wednesday, NASA announced after another weather briefing Tuesday morning.
Originally scheduled to depart Kennedy Space Center early Monday, the orbiter was twice delayed by a threat of thunderstorms between Florida and Houston, the first leg of its cross-country trip to Los Angeles.
But the forecast has cleared up in the coming days and officials are continuing to proceed toward the Wednesday departure, scheduled for 7:15 a.m. EDT, NASA said. A final weather briefing will be held Wednesday before takeoff.
The storms have also prompted crews to move the space shuttle — currently perched atop the modified 747 aircraft that will carry it to Los Angeles — inside a "mate-demate" device for better protection. The device was last used to lift and attach the orbiter onto the jet.
Endeavour is now set to land at Los Angeles International Airport at 11 a.m. Friday, a day later than originally scheduled.
But NASA officials said Monday that although the time frame has been pushed back, the shuttle will be able to make its farewell flight as originally planned — complete with several low-level flyovers of NASA sites across the United States and an overnight stay in Houston.
The shuttle will reach Edwards Air Force Base on Thursday afternoon, where it will stay overnight. Early Friday, it will fly over landmarks in Sacramento, San Francisco and elsewhere in Northern California before touring the Los Angeles area and landing.
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Photo: Space shuttle Endeavour sits atop a modified Boeing 747 on the apron at the Kennedy Space Centerl. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times