Storms Again Keep Shuttle Atlantis From Launch Pad

Storms kept NASA from moving space shuttle Atlantis to the launch pad for a second day in a row.

NASA had planned to haul Atlantis four miles to the launch pad from the Vehicle Assembly Building late Monday, almost a full day after heavy rain and lightning prevented it from being moved during a first attempt. NASA planned to try again before sunrise on Wednesday.

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 space agency still has about four or five days left before a delay in moving Atlantis to the launch pad would affect the launch schedule.

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.