Low Clouds Postpones Discovery Landing

August 8, 2005 -- Posted at 5:40 AM CDT

JOHNSON SPACE CENTER, Houston - After orbiting the Earth for nearly two weeks, astronauts aboard space shuttle Discovery were told to circle the planet for another day as bad weather in Florida forced NASA to postpone Discovery's scehduled pre-dawn landing on Monday.

The astronauts had powered up their spacecraft and were awaiting word from Mission Control to fire their braking rockets and head for home when controllers announced early Monday that low clouds over Cape Canaveral would postpone the landing.

"We've been working this pretty hard as I'm sure you can imagine from our silence down here," Mission Control radioed Discovery commander Eileen Collins. "We just can't get comfortable with the stability of the situation for this particular opportunity so we are going to officially wave you off for 24 hours." When cloud cover still threatened after the second of two landing opportunities, NASA officials rescheduled the landing for Tuesday, when they would consider two alternative landing sites in addition to Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

(Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press)