CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Stormy weather prevented NASA from launching Discovery for the second day in a row Sunday, extending a yearlong grounding of the space shuttle necessitated by persistent trouble with fuel-tank foam.
Launch officials said they would try again Tuesday, on the Fourth of July, after giving the work force a day of rest and a chance to replenish the shuttle's on-board fuel. The weather was expected to improve by Tuesday, although rain was still in the forecast.
"We've concluded that we're not going to have a chance to launch today," launch director Mike Leinbach announced to his team.
Replying from the cockpit, shuttle commander Steven Lindsey said: "Looking out the window it doesn't look good today, and we think that's a great plan."
Lindsey and the six other astronauts had boarded the fueled spaceship just an hour or two earlier. The countdown was halted with more than an hour remaining, much earlier than Saturday's postponement.
The afternoon sky was considerably darker than on Saturday and left NASA with little choice but to call off the launch. Thunderstorms were moving in quickly from the west, and lightning was detected within a few miles of the launch pad.
The back-to-back delays cost NASA more than $1.5 million in overtime pay and fuel costs.