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Bad weather sends Atlantis to Oklahoma City

November 12, 1997

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Secured to the top of a Boeing 747, the space shuttle Atlantis made an unscheduled stop at Tinker Air Force Base on Tuesday after bad weather interrupted its trip from Florida to California.

Atlantis took off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday morning and was diverted to Tinker after poor weather in Texas canceled a planned refueling stop there.

Weather conditions in California may force Atlantis to remain grounded at Tinker through Wednesday, said George Diller, a public affairs officer at Kennedy Space Center.

Atlantis, which last blasted into space in May when it docked with the Russian space station Mir, is scheduled to undergo nine months of inspection and modification at the Orbiter Assembly Facility in Palmdale, Calif.

``We’re confident we’ll have everything they need to stay here as long as they like,″ said Col. Bob Smolen, commander of the 72nd Air Wing, which is responsible for shuttle security while the shuttle is parked at Tinker.

``They’re probably doing it because they’re familiar with the hospitality here in Oklahoma,″ he said.

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