Atlantis heads to Kennedy Space Center

A jumbo jet carrying the space shuttle Atlantis took off on a return trip from California to the shuttle's launch site at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. A modified Boeing 747 with the shuttle mounted on its back left from the Mojave Desert air base at 6:05 a.m. PDT (1305 GMT) on Sunday, said Alan Brown, a spokesman at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The jet made a planned stop at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, Sunday afternoon for refueling and to check the connection between it and the shuttle, NASA spokeswoman Jennifer Tharpe said. NASA officials were monitoring the weather in Nebraska and in Florida and will not take off until Monday morning at the earliest, NASA spokeswoman Jennifer Tharpe said.