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Space Shuttle Endeavor Launch Scrubbed in Florida

Aired November 29, 2001 - 10:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: In the meantime, Endeavor has been scrubbed at Florida at the space center where Miles O'Brien has been watching things, and apparently, it looks like the Russians got in the way.

Miles, good morning.

What's happening?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good way to put it, Bill Hemmer. Yesterday afternoon, the Russians attempted an automated docking of an unmanned progress freighter laden with about a ton of provisions and food for the International Space Station crew. That docking did go not according to plan. There was some sort of an obstruction of the docking collar, which made it impossible for it to have a tight mating. It's Called "soft dock," which means it can kind of wiggle around in place.

And that is not necessarily a very safe thing for a spaceship to be in, for another docking to occur, and in this case, the space shuttle Endeavour, which was on its way to the International Space Station.

Right now, there's a meeting going on, Houston, Moscow, Washington and right here in Florida, all talking about how to proceed on all of this. The Russians would like to do a hurry-up spacewalk to go out and clear that obstruction. Meanwhile, they're trying to decide if it in fact safe for the shuttle to dock with that wobbly freighter attached to the space station. So things are in flux. The decision was made. Let's wait at least 24 hours to try to figure out what the safe course of action might be.

Meantime, this is the first launch since September 11th, and just unprecedented security here. F-15 fighters escorted the space shuttle Endeavour out to the pad last month. Apache attack helicopters are hovering overhead. They've expanded the no-fly zone around the launch area to 40 nautical miles, meaning there is this huge blanket of airspace that would provide some safety for the space shuttle. And the thinking is, quite frankly, not rocket science. The space shuttle is a high-profile icon of American technological prowess, and quite frankly, you know, a bomb there on the launch pad with 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen would be a tempting target for terrorist. So there's a bit of tension here, a bit of emotion and a bit of concern right now as to what's safe at the International Space Station -- Bill.

HEMMER: Those security provisions are unbelievable. They are intense. Miles, thanks. Let's talk next hour about what next on this project, and the Endeavour has been scrubbed. Miles is watching it there in Florida. Thanks.

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