Cloudy skies could delay the launch of the shuttle Discovery tonight. According to reports, NASA does not launch shuttles when there are low clouds because it blocks visibility for those observing the shuttle’s lift-off and the shuttle commander. There is a 40 percent chance of a break in the clouds at 9:35 p.m., when the shuttle is expected to lift off.


The NASA Space Shuttle Launce and Landing Web site says weather is the only factor that could affect tonight’s launch. So far, NASA officials say the launch is on schedule.


According to reports, bad weather tonight could delay the launch until Saturday, as bad weather is in the forecast for Florida tomorrow. After Saturday, the next possibility for a launch would be Tuesday.


During the 12-day mission, Discovery crew members will go on a space walk to rewire the space station, deliver a two-ton addition and replace one of the space station’s crew members.


Tonight’s launch would be the first night launch in four years. NASA mandated day launches after foam broke off the tank of the shuttle Columbia in 2003, killing all seven astronauts. NASA officials say major foam issues have been taken care of, and radar will spot falling debris.

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