NASA would not have launched Sen. Jake Garn's shuttle mission three years ago if it had the same rules then as it plans for next week's scheduled shuttle mission.

Garn's shuttle mission flew through an overcast at 12,000 feet, while next week's flight must have clear skies, Garn said.He said the stricter safety rules, tougher weather requirements, and tighter launch software standards, make it likely the shot will be delayed, but he predicted that it would be launched within a few days of its schedule.

"NASA has gone the extra mile on quality control," Garn said, noting that shuttle boosters had passed tests even with intentionally damaged O-ring seals.