After a brief delay to wait out encroaching storms, NASA began filling shuttle Discovery's fuel tank for a third time, hoping skies will be clear for an 11:59 p.m. EDT liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Previous launch attempts this week were nixed by bad weather and a technical problem with a valve in the ship's fuel tank. NASA hopes the troubles are behind it. The opportunity to launch Discovery ends after Sunday and doesn't return until mid-October.
NASA is eager to get through its final seven shuttle missions and complete the $100 billion International Space Station, a project of 16 nations. Whether the station holds up to its promise of delivering cutting edge research may determine whether funds to continue the program beyond 2015 are forthcoming.