I left the hotel at about 9:30 this morning and stopped for some breakfast. Was on the road out to the Space Center by 10:30 on what was a beautiful, though ridiculously hot and muggy, morning here in Florida. Nothing but clear blue skies in front of me, though I wasn’t getting too excited since the clouds tend to start building in the afternoon.
About half-way to KSC, scanning through the radio dial I stumbled on the tail-end of Car Talk on NPR, which was followed by the hourly news update. Top Story: Shuttle launch delayed 24 hours for engineers to study possible damage caused by lightning strikes yesterday.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!
At least my perfect record is still alive – 0 for 4 now! Turns out the area around the launch pad, including the lightning mast and a water tower, was struck at least 11 times Friday afternoon during a thunderstorm, Neither the shuttle nor fuel tank was struck and the initial indications don’t show any damage, but there are lots of things to check, so they decided to delay until Sunday evening. Good news is that the weather forecast is improving. They are now predicting a 70% of favorable weather at launch time tomorrow – today’s was only 40%.
If all goes well, they are targeting a 7:13 p.m. Eastern Time launch tomorrow. So it looks like I’ll be spending one more night in Florida. Hopefully the last for a long time!