NASA Delays Discovery Launch To Fix Fuel Leaks - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Leadership

NASA Delays Discovery Launch To Fix Fuel Leaks

Space shuttle mission to the International Space Station pushed back one day, to Tuesday.

Government Innovators
Slideshow: Government Innovators
(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)

NASA has delayed the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery by a day so it can investigate and repair gas leaks.

The shuttle was scheduled to take off Monday for an 11-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver spare parts and components, as well as a humanoid robot that will become a permanent resident of the station.

However, NASA discovered helium and nitrogen leaks in the pressurization portion of its right-hand Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) pod on Thursday that must be repaired before the launch.

In a press conference Friday, NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding said the repairs are routine and similar ones have been done before. He does not anticipate it will be difficult to fix the problem in time for a Tuesday launch despite the fact that overnight repairs Thursday were not entirely successful.

"These types of challenges are not uncommon," he said. "We're going to fly this vehicle when it's ready to go."

While the space shuttle has had gas leaks in the past, Spaulding said they were unrelated to the one discovered Friday. He added that this kind of repair has been done before while the craft was already on the launch pad.

Even if the shuttle is ready to go Tuesday, there is a 30 percent chance that inclement weather could delay the launch further, officials said during the press conference.

Tuesday also is mid-term election day in the U.S., and officials said they are making arrangements to ensure those involved in the launch will have time to vote even if they are meant to take part in launch activities.

The Discovery flew its first mission Aug. 30, 1984, and has returned to space 38 times since then. The space shuttle program's last flight is scheduled for Feb. 27, 2011, when the space shuttle Endeavor will carry supplies to the ISS.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Where Cloud Spending Might Grow in 2021 and Post-Pandemic
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/19/2020
The Ever-Expanding List of C-Level Technology Positions
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/10/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
Flash Poll