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Lightning strike grounds Endeavour

Shuttle launch tomorrow, says NASA

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NASA has postponed today's planned launch of space shuttle Endeavour following "lightning strikes in the Launch Complex 39A area" of the Kennedy Space Center.

Lightning strikes Endeavour launch area. Pic: NASAThe agency reports: "None of the strikes hit the shuttle or its external tank and solid rocket boosters, but there were strikes to the lightning mast and water tower. The launch pad is equipped with a lightning protection system of wires that is intended to steer bolts away from the shuttle."

NASA hopes to send Endeavour on its way at 7:13pm EDT (23:13 GMT) tomorrow on the STS-127 mission to the international Space Station. The 16-day jaunt features five space walks to fit the final components of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo lab.

NASA concludes: "The weather forecast calls for a 60 per cent chance of acceptable conditions." ®

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