Shuttle's Piggy-Back Ride to Florida Could Happen Monday

747 to Carry Space Shuttle Back to Florida
The Space Shuttle Endeavour lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Nov. 30, 2008. It's parachute is just being deployed (far left) and the nose wheel has yet to touch down. The landing was safe and successful. (Image credit: NASA TV)

The Space Shuttle Endeavour's piggy-back ride from California to Florida on a modified Boeing 747 could occur Monday, NASA announced this weekend. The flight had been tentatively slated for today.

For the flight, the shuttle will be mounted on the back of the 747.

Technicians from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are continuing preparation work on Endeavour at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California. An issue with preparations to install the flight tail cone on Endeavour delayed plans to start the shuttle's flight Sunday morning, according to a NASA statement.

Tail cone installation was to begin Saturday.

The shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force Base Nov. 30 after bad weather in Florida forced a diversion to the California back-up location. Now NASA must ferry Endeavour back to the Kennedy Space Center.

The flight will cost about $1.8 million. The effort is not expected to have an impact on NASA's scheduled shuttle flights during 2009, including a planned May mission to work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

The 16-day shuttle mission to the International Space Station upgraded and serviced the orbiting outpost.

The mission, which came during the 10th anniversary of the space station, included the 200th U.S. spacewalk. Astronauts added two new sleep stations to the ISS, a new galley with a refrigerator, and a water and urine recycling system and an advanced resistive exercise device.

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