Feeds

Atlantis launch under pressure from Ernesto and Russia

Old allies...

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Tropical storm Ernesto has almost menaced the Shuttle Atlantis back into a storm-proof hanger, as NASA mission managers wait for the weather to clear.

Managers are preparing to roll the Shuttle off the launch pad today, unless the forecast changes dramatically.

If the shuttle does have to be moved, the mission will be set back by at least several days, and possibly over a month.

NASA says that even if the weather miraculously clears and Ernesto changes course, the launch is unlikely to happen before next Sunday (3 September).

The forecast is most likely to send Atlantis scurrying for shelter, a move that on its own takes around six hours. If the shuttle is mothballed, the whole launch procedure will have to begin again, making it unlikely that Atlantis will take to the skies before 8 September, further delaying the long overdue work on the International Space Station.

The delay is more than a costly irritation. The mission was supposed to be finished and NASA's astronauts on their way home by 14 September to make space on the ISS for the next Russian arrivals.

NASA may have to wait until this mission is completed before sending Atlantis up. If negotiations with the Russians don't go well, the Shuttle could be grounded until late October.

Ernesto is not expected to leave the area any time soon. Forecasters predict the storm will gain strength over the coming days before graduating to full hurricane status and sweeping through central Florida.

Atlantis was originally scheduled to launch on 27 August, before the launch pad was struck by lightning. Although engineers concluded no damage was done, NASA had already had to postpone the countdown.

Mike Suffredini, NASA's space station program manager told the Houston Chronicle that the next few flights would be critical to the success of the ISS. "This flight has to occur for the next flight to occur and then the next flight and the next flight," he said. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.