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By | August 2, 2004

      The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) today scrubbed the launch of the MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft due to the potential for lightning from residual clouds associated with Tropical Storm Alex, now forming somewhere off the coast of the Carolinas. The mission has been rescheduled for Aug. 3 at 2:15:56 a.m. EDT, when a launch window will open for 12 seconds. NASA said there is a 30-percent chance of not meeting that rescheduled launch time. MESSENGER will be delivered to outer space via Boeing [BA] Delta II rocket.

      The MESSENGER satellite was designed as a means for scientists “to better understand how Mercury was formed, how it evolved and how it interacts with the Sun,” NASA explained on its Web site.

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