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Hurricane halts journey into space

A HURRICANE has prevented former Cranbrook School pupil Piers Sellers from blasting off into outer space.

Mr Sellers, who left the school in 1973, was due to take off in the space shuttle Atlantis early this week. But Hurricane Lili, which had been brewing over the Bahamas and hit Florida could have affected the mission control centre at Houston, Texas, and the mission was postponed - probably until Monday.

Mr Sellers, who was born in Crowborough but now lives in America with his wife and children, is taking a copy of the school's charter with him, which will be brought back and displayed alongside the original.

The 47-year-old joined the NASA astronaut programme six years ago after studying at Edinburgh University. He was originally due to lift off in August on board Atlantis, delivering supplies to the International Space Station.

But technical problems and bad weather have plagued the mission - something Cranbrook School spokeswoman Brigitte Santerthinks will frustrate the famous ex-pupil.

She said: "It must be a bit nerve-racking for him because he has to be quarantined all over again and can't see his family. There must be a process they go through to get psyched up and I should think it's very trying having to do it again and again."

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