Hurricane Dennis threatening Discovery Shuttle mission
NASA has worked very hard in the last 2.5 years to reach this stage when they can claim that the Discovery Space Shuttle is ready for flight and safe for the crew. The mission is due to begin next week with everything prepared. However, there are problems for NASA which might further delay the Space Shuttle launch. And this time it is all natural in the form of the Hurricane Dennis and NASA can do nothing about it if the Hurricane turns out to be a bigger problem than currently expected.
The mission managers for this upcoming launch would be meeting today to decide whether they should begin readying the orbiter in the event high winds force it to roll back to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building. NASA is closely monitoring the approach of Hurricane Dennis, which is currently heading towards the Gulf Coast. Discovery is stationed at the Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and it might come in the path of this natural phenomenon.
A NASA official said: â€œThe current forecast shows only a slight chance of more than 40 knot winds effecting KSC on Saturday. A decision on rollback would not be made until tomorrow.â€ The Space Agency has however clarified that a rollback now would not affect the launch scheduled for July 13 at 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT).