CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- A storm in California kept the space shuttle Atlantis from landing yesterday and could force the orbiter and its five-member crew to remain aloft today and possibly until after Thanksgiving, NASA officials said yesterday.
Shuttle managers tried twice yesterday to schedule a landing for Atlantis at Edwards Air Force Base in California but had to cancel both attempts when winds gusted to 29 mph, exceeding NASA safety limits.
"This front is going to be hanging around," said Don Haley, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Edwards.
The shuttle has enough food, fuel and oxygen to keep the crew in orbit until Thanksgiving Day. The astronauts also could scrimp on supplies and safely stay in orbit until Friday, NASA officials said.
If the weather does not improve by then, Atlantis could land at the Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico or, as a last resort, on the narrow runway at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.