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Space shuttle Discovery's launch put off
December 08, 2006 08:32 IST
Last Updated: December 08, 2006 09:34 IST
NASA on Friday scrapped the launch of space shuttle Discovery due to low clouds and strong winds.
The launch has now been scheduled for Saturday.
Had the shuttle taken off, it would have been the first launch at night in four years.
Among the seven astronauts is Sunita Williams, the second woman of Indian origin after Kalpana Chawla to go on a space mission.
The presence of clouds prevents the necessary observation of the shuttle during blast off, and visibility is key for an emergency landing, if it is required.
Discovery's astronauts will be involved in important repair jobs at the International Space Station during the 12-day mission.
Sunita Williams, 41, will stay back for six months at the lab.
NASA had stuck to daylight liftoffs thrice since the 2003 accident of the Columbia, in which the first woman in space of Indian origin, Kalpana Chawla, was killed.
The agency wanted to get good daytime photos to monitor the external fuel tank.Managers did not notice debris falling off the fuel tank of Columbia, and this was cited as the reason for the crash of the shuttle as it entered the earth's orbit after a mission.