To the folks at NASA, Hanna is the new Gustav. They're putting off transporting the shuttle Atlantis to its launch pad as the newly hyped tropical storm makes its way toward the southeast coast of the United States.
Atlantis was supposed to be moved to its launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center this morning, but NASA spokesman John Yembrick says it won't make the journey until Thursday at the earliest.
Yembrick says the shuttle is expected to lift off as scheduled in October for a Hubble Space Telescope service visit as long as the move happens by this coming weekend.
"It is possible we may have to move it a couple days, depending on when the payload gets to the pad," he says. "If it gets there by Sunday, we should be OK for an Oct. 8 launch, but we'll have to assess that once we're out there."
Gustav, a Category 2 hurricane that's now a tropical depression, tore roofs off of homes and flooded streets in New Orleans, which is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina three years ago. The city's shored-up levees and floodwalls withstood Gustav, but the storm shattered windows and cut power in Mississippi and smaller coastal towns in Louisiana.
Gustav was the first of four tropical tempests traveling through the Caribbean toward the Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Image of Caribbean-region storms courtesy NOAA