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Weather could again delay space shuttle Endeavour's flight

September 17, 2012 | 10:28 am

Already delayed a day, space shuttle Endeavour's departure from Florida to Los Angeles could be pushed back again because of bad weather.

Endeavour was supposed to leave NASA's Kennedy Space Center for Houston early Monday, the first leg of its days-long trek across the southern United States that includes 1,500-foot flyovers of several NASA facilities.

On Sunday, NASA officials said the flight would be delayed because of stormy conditions, and it was tentatively rescheduled for dawn Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Space shuttle Endeavour

But after another planning meeting Monday, NASA spokesman Michael Curie said that too could change.

"We don't have an answer yet," Curie said. "Right now we're still planning on leaving tomorrow morning, but the weather is still being forecast to be not so good."

NASA officials will meet again Monday afternoon but Curie said the final decision could wait until after another meeting at 5 a.m. EST Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Space shuttle Endeavour 1991-2012

Although officials still anticipate Endeavour reaching Los Angeles International Airport midday Thursday, Curie said the weather could prevent the shuttle from flying over NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Other flyovers in Texas, New Mexico and across California were expected to proceed as scheduled.

"The weather, as we have said from the beginning, determines the flight path and really the success of the flyovers," Curie said. "Once we get to Houston, the weather forecast for the rest of the week is great. ... It's just a matter of getting out of Florida."

A modified 747 aircraft will carry Endeavour to Los Angeles International Airport, where it will be housed until its move to its permanent home at the California Science Center. The shuttle's two-day trek through the city's streets is expected to begin Oct. 12.


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Photo: Space shuttle Endeavour sits atop a modified 747 as final preparations are made for its final flight from Kennedy Space Center to Los Angeles. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times