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Setbacks Postpone Two Space Shuttle Launches

NASA will officially announce the new launch dates after a Flight Readiness Review, Oct. 3.

NASA has delayed the launch of two space shuttles because of setbacks related to Hurricane Ike.

The U.S. space agency announced Wednesday that Atlantis' STS-125 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope will likely be delayed from Oct. 10 to Oct. 14 at 10:19 p.m., EDT. The shuttle Endeavour's STS-126 supply mission for the International Space Station will move from its original launch date of Nov. 12 to Nov. 16 at 7:07 p.m., EST.

NASA plans to confirm the dates on Oct. 3, after another Flight Readiness Review. NASA changed the shuttle launch schedule Wednesday such a review.

The closure of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston affected Mission Operations, Flight Crew Operations, and training divisions, NASA said. The center shut down Sept. 11, as Hurricane Ike approached the Texas coast and it did not fully re-open until Sept. 22.

Before the closure, workers covered electronic equipment and that work seems to have paid off. Ike took down trees and light poles at the center, causing damage to some buildings' roofs, walls, facades, and windows. Still, the Mission Control Center and other key facilities were largely unscathed, NASA said.

International Space Station flight control resumed from Mission Control in Houston on Friday, Sept. 19, after it had been transferred to a facility in Austin, Texas, and then to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

The Space Shuttle Program's vehicle processing at Kennedy continues on schedule, but officials decided to postpone the launches because of the lost week of training and mission preparation from the Johnson closure.

NASA will officially announce the new launch dates after a Flight Readiness Review, Oct. 3.

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