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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Clouds force delay of shuttle launch

NEEDHAM

shuttle2.JPG

The shuttle on the launch pad tonight
(NASA TV via AP)

Sunita Williams will have to wait at least till Saturday to get into space.

Low clouds forced NASA to delay the launch of space shuttle Discovery from Cape Canaveral, Fla. tonight, with the next attempt scheduled for Saturday night.

NASA managers waited until the end of the countdown before deciding to call off the launch scheduled for 9:35 p.m. ET. It would have been the first launch at night in four years.

“We gave it the best shot and didn’t get clear and convincing evidence that the cloud ceiling had cleared for us,” launch director Mike Leinbach told Discovery’s seven astronauts.

Williams, who grew up in Needham, is one of the seven. Her mission will be monitored by a special group of fans: her sixth-grade teacher, Angela DiNapoli, and DiNapoli's class at Newman Elementary School.

Williams, who graduated from Needham High School in 1983, now lives in Houston with her husband, Michael.

-- Associated Press

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