Weather prompts delay of Shuttle Atlantis return - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Weather prompts delay of Shuttle Atlantis return

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - After a high flying repair job to the Hubble Space Telescope, the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis was scheduled to come home Friday morning.

The only problem was the weather.

Clouds and rain over Florida forced NASA to wave off the landing.

It was a historic mission now longer by a day.

Weather forced NASA to wave off landing attempts at Kennedy Space Center when clouds and rain wouldn't clear out.

A tough break for a mission that had exceeded expectations as astronauts gave the Hubble Space Telescope new life.

"What we've done is up here is give Hubble 5 or perhaps even 10 more years of life, so we're gonna see a lot of Hubble every single day," said Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld.

Over five spacewalks in just five days, astronauts installed new science instruments, batteries and fixed broken parts never designed to be worked on in space.

It wasn't always easy.

At one point astronauts had to use old fashion muscle to tear a sticky bolt free.

Another first in orbit, was that astronauts found time to testify before Congress on NASA's new budget.

What may have made this mission most incredible is the risk.

Hubble is in an orbit littered with space debris.

If Atlantis was damaged, there would be nowhere for astronauts to shelter so Endeavour had been standing by as a rescue craft.

After 11 days of watching amazing feats in space, all eyes are now on the skies. Hoping the clouds soon clear.

If things don't clear in Florida, they do have the option to land in California on Saturday.

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