Shuttle launch scrubbed by faulty switch

July 13, 2005

NASA's scheduled launch of space shuttle Discovery was scrubbed Wednesday when a fuel sensor malfunctioned.

The scheduled 3:51 p.m. EDT liftoff was scrubbed about 1:30 p.m. and National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said they were uncertain how much time would be needed to fix the problem, CNN reported.

No new launch schedule was immediately set.

All seven astronauts were safely removed from the shuttle shortly after the scrub was announced less than 2 1/2 hours from launch.

After exiting the shuttle, the astronauts paused on the launch pad to look up at the spaceship and take some pictures.

For most of its 13-day mission, the crew will inspect the shuttle and test repair procedures. But the astronauts will also deliver some supplies to the International Space Station, including a replacement gyroscope, an external storage platform and an Italian cargo carrier called Raffaello.

The mission will mark first shuttle flight since the break up of shuttle Columbia during re-entry 2 1/2 years ago.

Concerns also arose Tuesday when a flight deck window cover fell, slightly damaging two protective tiles. But workers repaired the damage and early Wednesday reported everything looked good for the scheduled liftoff.

There is a brief launch window Thursday but NASA officials say weather could scuttle the second try.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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