Port Townsend: NASA launch of craft containing local parts delayed again

Thick clouds prevented NASA from launching the Genesis solar probe Wednesday on the first U.S. mission to return extraterrestrial samples since the Apollo moon landings, officials said in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

It was the third day of delay for the mission to gather particles of the sun.

Launch managers said they may try again this afternoon. The next launch attempt will be Friday.

The craft includes instrument components made by Marketech International Inc. of Port Townsend.

Genesis was supposed to lift off Monday, but a pair of power converters in the spacecraft became suspect after identical devices failed radiation testing in France.

Just six hours earlier, NASA cleared Genesis for the 20 million-mile, round-trip journey following a flurry of tests.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., which built Genesis, spent the past few days testing five additional power converters at its laboratories in Denver. The tests confirmed managers” belief that the Genesis power converters, part of the spacecraft’s navigation system, would withstand radiation from solar flares during the three-year flight.

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