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NASA Postpones Shuttle Landing Until Friday

21 June 2007

The U.S. space agency NASA says it will not try to land the space shuttle Atlantis Thursday because of low clouds and the possibility of thunderstorms at the landing site at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The agency says it will try the landing on Friday. The shuttle could make another attempt at the Florida site, or land at an alternate site in California.

Atlantis is finishing a mission that involved docking at the International Space Station and conducting four spacewalks to do construction and repairs on both the station and the shuttle itself.

NASA engineers cleared the shuttle to return to Earth after determining that a repaired thermal blanket on the shuttle's exterior could withstand the intense heat of re-entering the atmosphere.

The blanket was damaged on takeoff.

During this latest mission, the shuttle also delivered U.S. astronaut Clayton Anderson as the newest member of the space station's crew.

Anderson replaces Sunita Williams, who spent six months aboard the space station. She set the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman during her mission.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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