NASA prepares for Sunday shuttle landing

Rain at Kennedy Space Center in Florida canceled plans to land the space shuttle Atlantis on Saturday.
The next landing opportunity for the space shuttle Atlantis at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center is at 10:09 a.m. ET Sunday, NASA said.

NASA postponed the landing on Saturday because of weather concerns. Mission Control moved ahead with the landing process on Sunday morning, giving a “go” for payload bay door closure, according to NASA’s Web site. Edwards Air Force Base in California is available as a backup option should landing at Kennedy Space Center not work, NASA said. There are two opportunities on Sunday for landing at Kennedy, and two at Edwards, NASA said. Saturday was the second consecutive day that NASA decided to push back attempts to land the space shuttle because of lingering rainy weather in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Atlantis launched May 11 for NASA’s final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope. The space shuttle’s astronauts conducted spacewalks during the mission to perform routine repairs and replace key instruments, in what has been called one of the most ambitious space repair efforts ever attempted. Hubble was released back into orbit Tuesday morning. Hubble, which has been in space for nearly two decades, can capture clear images that telescopes on Earth cannot, partly because it does not have to gaze through Earth’s murky atmosphere.