NASA to test shuttle Discovery repairs Friday

December 16, 2010
The space shuttle Discovery on Pad 39A in November 2010 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA will run a series of fuel tank tests on the shuttle Discovery Friday to see if repairs have successfully fixed a series of cracks that have thwarted the mission's final run to space.

NASA will run a series of fuel tank tests on the shuttle Discovery Friday to see if repairs have successfully fixed a series of cracks that have thwarted the mission's final run to space.

The tests are to take place at 7 am (1200 GMT) on the at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the US space agency said in a statement.

NASA hopes the results will "help engineers determine what caused the cracks during Discovery's launch countdown on November 5," but warned that the findings would not be immediately released.

"Managers and engineers will review the data gathered from the test before determining the next course of action," said.

The shuttle Discovery's final mission to the has been delayed until February 3 at the earliest.

The aging shuttle's latest attempt to launch was scratched on November 5 when technicians found a hydrogen leak and later a series of long cracks on the shuttle's external fuel tank.

Experts are puzzled by the cracks, which were found on a pair of 21-foot-long (6.5 meter) U-shaped aluminum brackets called "stringers."

The February launch window stays open until the 10th, and if no launch can occur in that time frame, the next window opens February 27 through March 3.

The is set to take off in April in what will be the last official shuttle launch scheduled for the US program.

A third shuttle launch could take place in the summer before the entire fleet is retired for good.

Explore further: NASA aims for March 12 space shuttle launch

Related Stories

NASA aims for March 12 space shuttle launch

February 26, 2009

NASA is aiming to launch the space shuttle Discovery next month after repeated delays caused by critical valves. Shuttle managers said Wednesday they hope to launch on March 12, a full month after the original launch date ...

Discovery launch 'no earlier than' December 3

November 18, 2010

The final launch of the space shuttle Discovery has been delayed until at least December 3 so that repairs can be carried out on a hydrogen leak, the US space agency said Thursday.

NASA postpones Discovery launch to mid-December

November 24, 2010

NASA on Wednesday postponed until mid-December the launch of the space shuttle Discovery on its last trip to the International Space Station after cracks were found in its external fuel tank.

Recommended for you

Spitzer Space Telescope begins 'Beyond' phase

August 26, 2016

Celebrating the spacecraft's ability to push the boundaries of space science and technology, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope team has dubbed the next phase of its journey "Beyond."

NASA's Juno to soar closest to Jupiter this Saturday

August 26, 2016

This Saturday at 5:51 a.m. PDT, (8:51 a.m. EDT, 12:51 UTC) NASA's Juno spacecraft will get closer to the cloud tops of Jupiter than at any other time during its prime mission. At the moment of closest approach, Juno will ...

Rosetta captures comet outburst

August 25, 2016

In unprecedented observations made earlier this year, Rosetta unexpectedly captured a dramatic comet outburst that may have been triggered by a landslide.

Rocky planet found orbiting habitable zone of nearest star

August 24, 2016

An international team of astronomers including Carnegie's Paul Butler has found clear evidence of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System. The new world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.