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SHUTTLE COMING HOME A DAY EARLY

NASA said it is bringing the space shuttle Columbia home from its star-crossed astronomy mission tonight, a day early, to avoid rain at the California desert landing site.

The mission earlier had been threatened by a clogged wastewater line, but the astronauts found a way to live with the problem Sunday.

Weather proved to be the determining factor, though, and shuttle managers decided today they would not risk waiting until Tuesday to bring Columbia back. The seven astronauts began preparing for a 9:54 p.m. PST (12:54 a.m. EST) landing at Edwards Air Force Base.

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