Weather could spoil shuttle launch plans

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) -- The storm system responsible for those deadly tornadoes in the South Tuesday night could keep space shuttle Atlantis on the ground this afternoon.

The mission to take a two-billion-dollar European science lab to the space station is already two months behind schedule because of fuel-gauge problems.

NASA is confident those have been resolved and has reset the launch for 2:45 Eastern time this afternoon, but with clouds, rain and even a fierce thunderstorm predicted, odds for an on-time liftoff are put at just 30 percent.

Forecasters are expecting some improvement tomorrow, but the weather is not expected to get significantly better before early next week.

A year ago, Atlantis was grounded for several months because of damage from freak hail storm.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)