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Hurricane Damage Delays Shuttle's Return To Flight Until May

Damage at the VAB has been light but disruptive nonetheless.
 Washington (AFP) Oct 02, 2004
NASA has delayed the resumption of space shuttle flights from March until at least May, the US space agency said Friday.

In a statement, the agency said the postponement was forced by the effects of four major hurricanes this year on its flight centers.

Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne closed down NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for about nine days and damaged several facilities, and Hurricane Ivan caused shorter closures at several other facilities, said William Readdy, NASA's associate administrator for space operations.

"I am proud of our shuttle team for taking good care of our orbiters during this terrible storm season. I am pleased they are taking the time to make a careful assessment of the hurricanes' impact. Their thoroughness will help us make the right decision," he said.

NASA has been working to modify the remaining three shuttles to avoid a recurrence of the Columbia tragedy.

Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003, killing its seven crew members. The investigating commission blamed the disaster on damage to the shuttle's left wing resulting from the impact of insulation foam breaking off from the main fuel tank during liftoff.

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KSC Reopens Tuesday As Space Center Weathers Hurricane Jeanne
KSC (SPX) Sep 28, 2004
Tuesday, Sept. 28 is a normal work day for all KSC employees. A liberal excused absence as well as liberal leave policy will be in effect for civil service and contractor employees with permission from their supervisor. The KSC Child Development Center will be open on Tuesday.

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