Hatch Closed as Weather Concerns Grow

Technicians have closed and latched the hatch on space shuttle Discovery this evening in preparation for launch at 1:36 a.m. EDT. The seven astronauts inside the shuttle can get out quickly in the unlikely event of an emergency. While those steps are taken at the pad, the weather forecast has worsened, and meteorologists now predict a 40 percent chance of acceptable conditions at launch time. The weather teams at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center will watch conditions carefully during the countdown. There is about two hours left in the countdown for the weather to improve and storms to dissipate in the area.