The U.S. space agency NASA has postponed the launch of the space
shuttle Endeavour, to investigate possible damage to instrument panels
from lightning strikes at the launch pad.
The shuttle had been
scheduled to lift off Saturday on a 16-day mission to install a
Japanese-built porch on the International Space Station. But NASA says
the launch has been delayed at least until Sunday.
forecasters had predicted that thunderstorms could interfere with
Saturday's liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in the southeastern
state of Florida.
Endeavour was to have headed into space last
month, but was grounded by a hydrogen fuel leak. Officials believe
they have resolved the problem that occurred with a hydrogen vent line
on the launch pad.
Five spacewalks are planned during the 16-day
mission to install the final component of a Japanese space module,
known as Kibo, and to perform other tasks at the space station.
is facing a September 2010 deadline to complete construction of the
Japanese lab section before the shuttle fleet is retired. Eight
shuttle flights are dedicated to that construction effort.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.