Pictures taken from the shuttle Endeavour belie the destructive power of the fully-fledged Category Five hurricane as it rages across the Caribbean. The Endeavour and its crew of seven had to cut short its mission to the international space station by a day because of the weather system.
NASA controllers feared that the torrential rain and 270 kilometre per hour winds could pose a threat to the shuttle, heading for a landing strip at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As the monster storm headed towards Mexico there were concerns that it could turn towards Texas, and disrupt Mission Control at the Johnson Space Centre in Texas.
The astronauts were woken up by Simon and Garfunkel singing ‘Homeward Bound’. But NASA officials are happy with the weather forecast at the landing strip, and don’t foresee a problem, despite some damage to the heat shield.