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Archive for Friday, December 22, 2006

NASA considers three shuttle landing sites

December 22, 2006

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— Faced with some less-than-perfect choices, NASA watched the weather report in three time zones Thursday as it struggled to pick a landing site for space shuttle Discovery's return to Earth.

The space agency planned to bring the ship home today, after a 13-day mission during which its crew rewired the international space station.

But showers and clouds were in the forecast at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and crosswinds were expected at NASA's next-best option, Edwards Air Force Base in California's Mojave Desert.

At NASA's third-best choice, White Sands, N.M., the weather looked favorable, but that could change later in the day because of a front coming from California. And New Mexico is considered inconvenient, because the space agency would have to fly some heavy equipment there to transport the shuttle back to Florida.

The earliest landing time is at 2:56 p.m. CST at Kennedy Space Center.

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