NASA has not launched a space shuttle on time since John Glenn's heralded return to orbit aboard Discovery in October 1998. The missions since then:
Jan. 31, 2000: Endeavour's Earth-mapping mission is delayed by bad weather and computer trouble; the latter problem results in a postponement of more than one week. Damaged wiring had already delayed it four months.
- Dec. 19, 1999: Discovery lifts off on a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope after a record nine launch delays spread over two months. Delays were due to damaged wiring, a contaminated engine, a dented fuel line, concern over fuel line welds, a nicked cable and bad weather.
- July 23, 1999: Columbia lifts off on a mission to deploy the Chandra X-ray Observatory after a delay of almost one year caused by prolonged problems with the observatory and then thunderstorms and erroneous hydrogen-gas measurements.
- May 27, 1999: Discovery lifts off on a supply run to the new international space station after a one-week delay caused by hail damage to the external fuel tank.
- Dec. 4, 1998: Endeavour lifts off with the first U.S.-built component of the international space station after a one-day delay caused by a cockpit alarm, and a one-year delay caused by Russia's ongoing problems with a crucial station module.
- Oct. 29, 1998: Discovery soars with John Glenn on the appointed day.