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Archive for Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lightning delays Endeavour launch

July 12, 2009

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— NASA scrubbed space shuttle Endeavour’s Saturday evening launch after lightning struck at least 11 times near the seaside launch pad.

NASA technicians found no damage after an electrical storm Friday afternoon, but said they will need at least another day to check critical systems.

A mission management team plans to meet early today to determine if all the testing has been completed and whether to fuel Endeavour for a possible launch today. Liftoff would be at 7:13 p.m. if NASA attempts to launch today.

Mike Moses, chairman of that team, said there were 11 lightning strikes within three-tenths of a mile of the pad, although none of them struck the shuttle, external tank or the two solid rocket boosters.

At the pad, the shuttle has an elaborate lightning protection system with sensors and wires to direct lightning away from the shuttle and its rockets.

“The lightning protection system did its job,” he said.

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