Seven astronauts returned to NASA's launch site Monday to take a new shot at flying space shuttle Atlantis to the international space station. Liftoff is set for Thursday afternoon, with NASA wrapping up a last repair Sunday night involving a radiator hose. The mission was waylaid in December by a different problem, erratic fuel gauges. Atlantis will carry the European Space Agency's science lab, Columbus, to the orbiting outpost. That will be the second science lab - the United States operates one there already. The largest lab of all, Japan's Kibo, or Hope, will be carried up in sections beginning next month. As the countdown clocks began ticking Monday, forecasters put the odds of acceptable weather at 40 percent because of a cold front and expected rain. Friday's outlook was much better: 80 percent.
Judge rebuffs Bushover Navy sonar
The Navy must follow environmental laws placing strict limits on sonar training that opponents argue harms whales, despite President Bush's decision to exempt it, a federal judge ruled Monday. Bush signed a waiver Jan. 15 exempting the Navy and its antisubmarine warfare exercises from a preliminary injunction creating a 12-nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California. "We disagree with the judge's decision," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. "We believe the orders are legal and appropriate."