East Coast to get ringside seat for shuttle Discovery's launch, V 2.0

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
The space shuttle Discovery waits for launch. Liftoff originally was scheduled for the wee hours of Aug. 25. But an unexpected bout of bad weather forced mission managers to scrub the launch and try again early Aug. 26. The flame-topped stack burns excess hydrogen technicians release from the shuttle's external fuel tank as it fills. The controlled release ensures that the tank isn't subject to too much internal pressure as the fuel is loaded.

It's a bad-hair day for meteorologists when they predict an 80 percent chance that weather will favor a space-shuttle launch. Then, shortly before lift-off, unexpected storms roll in and the launch gets scrubbed at the last possible moment.

That's what happened to the space shuttle Discovery and its seven-member crew in the wee hours of Aug. 25. The crew was strapped in and ready to go. And they quickly went nowhere. So, NASA will try for another launch at 1:10 a.m. Aug. 26.

That means you have another chance to watch the launch -- assuming clear skies and a willingness to set the alarm. Weather willing (from the launch pad to your pad), some portion of Discovery's ascent should be visible from as far west as eastern Mississippi to as far north as Halifax, Nova Scotia (for all of about 25 seconds there).

For a list of major East Coast cities where the shuttle can be viewed, appearance times, and length of viewing time visit CelesTrak, a website run by T.S. Kelso, a researcher at Analytical Graphics, Inc.'s Center for Space Standards and Innovation (CSSI) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The list appears toward the bottom of the web page.

Oh, and the forecast for the wee hours of Aug. 26? A 70 percent chance of decent launch weather.

You can read more about the mission's objectives here.

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