Wednesday, July 13, 2005

N.A.S.A Shuttle launch called off

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- A faulty fuel sensor aboard the space shuttle Discovery forced NASA on Wednesday to scrub its first attempt to launch a shuttle after the Columbia disaster 2 1/2 years ago.
NASA said the device was showing low fuel levels despite the exterior tank having been filled just hours before.
"It will take some time really to understand what to do to remedy the situation," NASA said. "We haven't ruled out tomorrow, but that's speculative."
The current launch window expires July 31, and the next begins in September. A Thursday launch would be at 3:28 p.m. ET.Crew members were all aboard the orbiter when the announcement to cancel was made.
A series of mishaps marked the last 24 hours before Discovery's scheduled launch.Earlier Wednesday, it appeared foul weather might postpone the high-profile mission to the international space station. Filling the massive external fuel tank was delayed early in the morning while a ground heater was repaired.
On Tuesday, a cockpit window cover fell and damaged two protective tiles near the orbiter's tail section.
But it was the fuel sensor that stopped the launch, a little more than three hours before the scheduled 3:51 p.m. launch.The sensor monitors the amount of super-cold hydrogen fuel in the tank and tells the orbiter's engines to shut down if there's not enough fuel.A launch controller described it as "a low-level fuel sensor in the external fuel tank, one of a set of four -- two of which are needed to work."...


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