Equipment Woes Delay Launch of NASA Craft

Associated Press

Equipment trouble forced NASA to delay the launch of a spacecraft toward an asteroid Friday.

Managers halted the countdown with less than an hour remaining because of problems with the safety system used to track ascending rockets. They said they would try again today to launch the unmanned Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Once launched, the spacecraft--called NEAR, for Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous--will spend three years flying to the asteroid Eros and then become the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid.