NASA uncovers cause of shuttle delay

Jun 23, 2009
Engineers from the US space agency NASA think they have discovered the cause of a hydrogen leak which twice delayed a high-profile shuttle launch this month, according to the agency. It may now be all systems go for the space shuttle Endeavour, which is waiting to embark on its final mission to the International Space Station, after a dodgy gas line connection was uncovered during tests.

Engineers from the US space agency NASA think they have discovered the cause of a hydrogen leak which twice delayed a high-profile shuttle launch this month, according to the agency.

It may now be all systems go for the space Endeavour, which is waiting to embark on its final mission to the International Space Station, after a dodgy gas line connection was uncovered during tests.

NASA program manager John Shannon said a misaligned plate linking the vent line with the external fuel tank had been causing the leak, which was first detected during fueling.

The Endeavour is set to carry a seven-member crew on a 16-day voyage to install a platform on the ISS, allowing astronauts to conduct experiments in the vacuum of space, 350 kilometers (220 miles) above Earth's surface.

To install the equipment five space walks are planned, lasting some 32 and a half hours.

It is the last of three missions to assemble the Japanese Kibo laboratory aboard the orbiting space station.

The race is on to finish construction before NASA ends its shuttle missions in September 2010.

"Technicians are preparing to test the repair plan by filling Endeavour's with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in the next week and a half," said in a statement.

Another launch attempt is scheduled for July 11.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Best evidence yet for coronal heating theory detected by NASA sounding rocket

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Endeavour launch postponed due to hydrogen leak

Jun 13, 2009

The US space agency has postponed Saturday's launch of the space shuttle Endeavour due to a hydrogen leak -- in a setback for a mission aimed at completing the 100-billion-dollar International Space Station.

NASA repairing leak on space shuttle fuel tank

Jun 15, 2009

(AP) -- NASA is repairing a leaky hydrogen gas line on Endeavour's fuel tank in hopes of launching the shuttle on its space station construction mission Wednesday, four days after the first try was called ...

Recommended for you

Rosetta measures comet's temperature

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made its first temperature measurements of its target comet, finding that it is too hot to be covered in ice and must instead have a dark, dusty crust.

How Rosetta arrives at a comet

13 hours ago

After travelling nearly 6.4 billion kilometres through the Solar System, ESA's Rosetta is closing in on its target. But how does a spacecraft actually arrive at a comet?

Lunar occultation of Saturn

13 hours ago

On the night of Monday August 4, mainland Australia will see Saturn disappear behind the moon. It's the third time this year that the moon and Saturn will perfectly line up, as viewed from our part of the ...

User comments : 0