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Space Shuttle Status Report,, 08.16.05,,Tuesday August 16, 2005


Engineers and technicians have decided to postpone the departure of the 
Space Shuttle Discovery on its ferry flight from NASA's Dryden Flight 
Research Center in Southern California to the Kennedy Space Center in 
Florida by one day, after a thunderstorm moved through the NASA Dryden 
area at Edwards Air Force Base Monday evening.

The weather forced technicians to temporarily suspend work on fastening 
the aerodynamic tailcone over Discovery's main engine nozzles. Engineers 
are also assessing whether the rain may have been absorbed by the 
Shuttle's thermal insulation blankets, adding weight to the orbiter.

As it presently stands, Discovery is now scheduled to depart Edwards 
early Thursday morning atop a modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier 
Aircraft on the first leg of its trip back to its Florida home. The 
cross-country journey is expected to take two days, with stops at 
several intermediate points for refueling.

Prior to Monday evening's thunderstorm, technicians completed several 
major steps in the ferry flight preparation process, including locking 
the main engine nozzles and elevons in place, and then positioning of 
the aerodynamic tailcone around Discovery's main engines.

Work to bolt the tailcone down is expected to be completed this morning, 
and mounting of Discovery atop the 747 is expected to begin Wednesday, 
barring any unforeseen problems that could force a delay.

For more on the Space Shuttle's Return to Flight, visit: 
www.nasa.gov/returntoflight <http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight/> on the 
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