NASA uncovers cause of shuttle delay

June 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: Endeavour launch postponed due to hydrogen leak

Related Stories

Endeavour launch postponed due to hydrogen leak

June 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

June 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 off.

Recommended for you

Neutron-star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists

January 18, 2018

The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten - much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million ...

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

January 18, 2018

Dust is everywhere—not just in your attic or under your bed, but also in outer space. To astronomers, dust can be a nuisance by blocking the light of distant stars, or it can be a tool to study the history of our universe, ...

New technique for finding life on Mars

January 18, 2018

Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets. The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, used miniaturized scientific ...

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.