SUMMARY: Although NASA has made tentative plans to launch the space shuttle Atlantis some time near the end of 2003, it's more likely to happen in early 2004. NASA is expected to announce the launch date in about six weeks. Although all the technical fixes can be made by December, one of the new regulations is that the shuttle will need to launch only in the daytime, so any problems during launch can be spotted from the ground - but there are only two daylight launch windows available in December. All shuttle flights were halted when Columbia broke up over Texas in February, 2003.
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