Space shuttle problem still unresolved

July 19, 2005

NASA officials Tuesday said they had not determined the cause of a fuel tank sensor problem that aborted the launch of the space shuttle Discovery.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists told CNN the earliest possible launch could not occur until next week.

"It's difficult to find a glitch that won't stay glitched," Bill Parsons, NASA's space shuttle program manager, said during a news conference Monday evening.

NASA scientists were decide by Wednesday whether they need to fill the shuttle's external tanks with super-cooled hydrogen and oxygen to help isolate the problem, CNN reported, but that would delay a launch until at least July 26.

If the July 31 launch window passes, NASA might be forced to wait until September for launch. The deadline was set to provide ideal lighting conditions, allowing Discovery's ascent to be photographed by a new system of cameras installed on the vehicle.

The video will help scientists evaluate design changes made since the 2003 Columbia disaster.

Discovery's launch would mark the first space shuttle flight since Columbia disintegrated over Texas Feb. 1, 2004, killing all seven astronauts on board.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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