08 December 2007

Atlantis to launch Sunday

ZUI this NASA press release, dated today:
Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3:21 p.m. EST, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Shuttle program managers made the liftoff decision after three days of reviewing data on a problem with fuel sensors.

Atlantis' scheduled launch on Thursday was delayed after two of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors in the shuttle's external fuel tank gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's three main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low.

During a Mission Management Team meeting Saturday, NASA leaders decided to fuel the tank Sunday and monitor the status of the sensor system. If all four ECO sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of the tank perform as expected, the countdown will proceed toward the planned liftoff. NASA Television coverage of the tank loading will start Sunday at 6 a.m., with launch coverage beginning at 10 a.m.

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