Shuttle Atlantis' Move to Launch Pad Delayed by Lightning

The midnight move of space shuttle Atlantis to the launch pad was delayed by almost a day Monday because of heavy rain and lightning.

NASA had planned to try to move the shuttle just after midnight Sunday. The space agency was to make another attempt at the four-mile trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pad late Monday evening.

Hauling the space shuttle to the launch pad takes at least six hours.

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The window for launching Atlantis opens Aug. 27 and lasts until Sept. 13.

The mission will be the first to resume construction of the international space station since December 2002. The deadly Columbia accident in early 2003 halted all expansion of the orbiting space lab and forced a reduction in the crew size from three to two.

The crew size returned to three members earlier this month after space shuttle Discovery delivered European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter to the international space station.

During the 11-day mission, Atlantis' six astronauts will deliver and install giant solar arrays to the space station and conduct three spacewalks.