Weather, Technical Glitch Delay Discovery's Return to Florida Spaceport
Lightning strikes in the distance as the Space Shuttle Discovery receives post-flight processing in the Mate-Demate Device (MDD), following its landing at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California.
Credit: Tom Tschida/NASA.

CAPE CANAVERAL - Shuttle Discovery's flight home is delayed again, now set for takeoff from California on Friday at earliest.

NASA says Discovery's precise departure time and arrival time here in Florida remain in flux.

Efforts to install the tail cone that protects the shuttle's main engines during the ferry flight home slowed the preparation work.

It's impossible to predict what refueling and overnight stops or changes in the flight path will be made necessary by weather.

The cross-country flight could end here Saturday afternoon, at the earliest, with a planned fly-over of Brevard's beaches.

Earlier this week, the work on Discovery has been delayed by extreme weather in the California desert.

Hail, winds and thunderstorms ravaged the area earlier this week, stopping work at one point.

The ship sits outside, exposed to the elements, while being prepped for mating to its modified 747 ferry.

NASA says water got inside a small part of the shuttle cargo bay, but the damage is not serious.

  • Fixing NASA: Complete Coverage of Space Shuttle Return to Flight