Weather expected to scuttle space shuttle landing

Atlantis launched May 11 for NASA's final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope.
The space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday, but the weather is likely to delay its arrival.

“Weather currently is forecast ‘no go’ due to a prediction of broken clouds at 4,000 feet and a chance of thunderstorms within 30 nautical miles of Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility,” NASA said on its Web site. A weather system that has dumped more than 2 feet of rain over parts of northeastern Florida this week is lingering in the Gulf of Mexico and continues to spread rain across the region. Should the weather clear, the crew could attempt a 10 a.m. landing in Florida. A second landing opportunity follows at 11:39 a.m. Atlantis launched May 11 for NASA’s final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope. Atlantis astronauts conducted spacewalks during the mission to perform routine repairs and replace key instruments.

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The mission was one of the most ambitious space repair efforts ever attempted. Hubble was released back into orbit Tuesday morning. In space for 19 years, Hubble can capture clear images that telescopes on Earth cannot, partly because it does not have to gaze through murky atmosphere.