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Shuttle’s piggyback trip set for Wednesday

NASA says the space shuttle Endeavour will begin its cross-country return trip to Florida on Wednesday.
/ Source: staff and news service reports

The space shuttle Endeavour is due to begin its cross-country piggyback ride to Florida on a modified Boeing 747 jet on Wednesday, after several days of weather-related delays, NASA reported Monday.

The shuttle was diverted last week on its return from orbit to Edwards Air Force Base after stormy weather hit its main Florida landing site.

The original schedule called for Endeavour to be ferried back to Kennedy Space Center as early as Sunday. However, technicians had trouble installing the aerodynamic cone that fits over the back of the shuttle, forcing an initial delay. Weather concerns led to additional postponements.

"Forecasters have been watching conditions associated with a slow-moving cold front as they plan Endeavour's path back to Kennedy," NASA said in Monday's mission update.

NASA said the 747, with Endeavour mounted on top, would take off from Edwards at 6:29 a.m. PT (9:29 a.m. ET) Wednesday and arrive in Florida as early as Thursday, depending on weather.

It will cost about $1.8 million to transport the shuttle from California to Florida.

This report includes information from and The Associated Press.