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NASA aims for Wednesday launch

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) -- After a week of weather delays, NASA officials on Thursday set a Wednesday launch time for space shuttle Atlantis on its mission to resume construction of the international space station.

The launch decision was made after a check of Kennedy Space Center following Ernesto's pass as a tropical depression on Wednesday found no serious damage.

"We're back," said NASA spokesman Bill Johnson. "There was no water intrusion in any operational areas, and so basically we came through this one unscathed."

The launch time was set for 12:29 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. If the shuttle doesn't lift off then, NASA has launch opportunities in the following two days.

Atlantis' six astronauts, who flew in their training jets back to Houston earlier this week, planned to return to Florida Saturday morning. The countdown was set to begin Sunday morning.

Tropical Storm Ernesto's approach and a lightning strike on the launch pad last week had forced NASA to delay the launch.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


The space shuttle Atlantis crawls back to the launch pad on Tuesday.



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