July 13, 2005 4:25 PM PDT

NASA delays Discovery shuttle launch

NASA has postponed the scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery until at least Saturday.

Discovery had been scheduled to launch at 3:51 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, which would have marked the first shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster of 2003 and NASA's first concerted attempt to demonstrate that it has fixed the problems that caused the high-profile mishap.

In a telephone conversation, a NASA spokeswoman at the Kennedy Space Center confirmed that no launch would happen Wednesday. "It has been scrubbed," the spokeswoman said.

Shuttle images

During an afternoon press conference, NASA said that the cancellation was due to malfunctioning fuel sensors in Discovery's external tank. The sensors protect the shuttle's engines by alerting them to shut down if fuel runs too low.

Wayne Hale, deputy manager of the shuttle program, said the next possible launch date is Saturday at 2:40 p.m. EDT. The so-called launch window extends through July 31--meaning if a launch doesn't take place by then, the next possible date would be sometime in September.

The cancellation came with around three hours left in the countdown, with weather anticipated to be the only remaining hitch.

Other last-minute glitches caused worries but had not postponed the launch. Around 7:10 a.m. EDT Wednesday, a heater failure delayed filling the shuttle's large orange external tank, and on Tuesday evening a window cover fell about six stories and damaged some of the tiles on the orbiter.

8 comments

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Safety First!
Scrubbing this launch is the logical thing to do. NASA can only learn from its previous mistakes -- from this flight onwards getting all systems at "go" should be the only way for go-for-launch. The time here now is 15:51 and listening and watching.

:-\
Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Safety First!
Scrubbing this launch is the logical thing to do. NASA can only learn from its previous mistakes -- from this flight onwards getting all systems at "go" should be the only way for go-for-launch. The time here now is 15:51 and listening and watching.

:-\
Posted by (187 comments )
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You pays what get!
Since the shuttle was built to the lowest possible bids and tenders steve buscemi's line from the movie armageddon springs to mind! As always you get what you ask for and pays for what you gets!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
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Sad but true
The Shuttle is a shadow of what it was supposed to be. The Vietnam war ate the money that was supposed to go the the Shuttle (not to mention Apollo 18, 19 and 20 plus the planned space and moon station!) leaving only half of the vehicle re-usable. Surprise surprise, the problem was caused by the External Tank again.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
You pays what get!
Since the shuttle was built to the lowest possible bids and tenders steve buscemi's line from the movie armageddon springs to mind! As always you get what you ask for and pays for what you gets!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sad but true
The Shuttle is a shadow of what it was supposed to be. The Vietnam war ate the money that was supposed to go the the Shuttle (not to mention Apollo 18, 19 and 20 plus the planned space and moon station!) leaving only half of the vehicle re-usable. Surprise surprise, the problem was caused by the External Tank again.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
Non -Destructive Analyses!
From a Non-Destructive Testing standpoint -- given the possibilities for "crack propagation" or "shear" due to the impact that was sustained by the space shuttle Discovery; perhaps it will be interesting to know the extent to which NASA has gone to determine the integrity of the area of impact!

From a Level 11 NDT Qualified.
Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Non -Destructive Analyses!
From a Non-Destructive Testing standpoint -- given the possibilities for "crack propagation" or "shear" due to the impact that was sustained by the space shuttle Discovery; perhaps it will be interesting to know the extent to which NASA has gone to determine the integrity of the area of impact!

From a Level 11 NDT Qualified.
Posted by (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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