NASA Prepares for Launch

7-11-05 - CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA is keeping a close eye on the sky this week, hoping the weather will clear enough to send up a space shuttle for the first time since the Columbia tragedy more than two years ago.

Although thunderstorms are in the forecast, the space agency says the odds are good the shuttle Discovery will head into space Wednesday.

The test director says excitement has been "building and growing" ever since the space agency overcame fuel-tank difficulties that prompted a launch delay a few months ago.

However, Hurricane Dennis could also play a part in determining if the launch goes off on time.

Forecasters are putting the odds of acceptable weather at 70 percent, with conditions expected to worsen as the week wears on.