Leaky valves could delay space shuttle launch

March 15, 2010 By MARCIA DUNN , AP Aerospace Writer

(AP) -- Space shuttle Discovery has some leaky valves that could delay its launch next month.

NASA discovered the helium leaks over the weekend. The valves are part of a control system used to maneuver the shuttle in orbit and for re-entry.

spokesman Allard Beutel said Monday that engineers will conduct additional tests later this week, to see if they can live with the problem. If any valves need to be replaced, Discovery would have to be moved from the pad back into the Vehicle Assembly Building. That would result in a lengthy delay.

For now, Discovery is scheduled to blast off April 5 on a two-week supply mission to the . Only four shuttle missions remain.

Explore further: Discovery scheduled for important move

More information: NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission-pages/shuttle

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