25 February 2009

Shuttle launch delayed further

ZUI this press release from NASA:
During a thorough review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight, NASA managers decided Friday that more data and possible testing are required before launching the STS-119 mission to the International Space Station.

Engineering teams have been working to identify what caused damage to a flow control valve on shuttle Endeavour during its November 2008 flight.


The shuttle has three flow control valves that channel gaseous hydrogen from the main engines to the external fuel tank. Teams also have tried to determine the consequences if a valve piece were to break off and strike part of the shuttle and external fuel tank.

The Space Shuttle Program has been asked to develop a plan to inspect additional valves similar to those installed on Discovery. This plan will be reviewed during a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 25. Afterward, the program may consider setting a new target launch date.

STS-119 (space shuttle Discovery) was originally scheduled to be launched last fall. The flight will deliver the final pair of power-generating solar array wings and truss element to the International Space Station.

COL Lee J Archambault (USAF) will be the mission commander. and CDR Dominic A Antonelli (USN) will serve as pilot. The mission specialists are Joseph Acaba, Richard R Arnold II, John L Phillips and Steven R Swanson. Antonelli, Acaba and Arnold will be making their first spaceflight; this will be the second flight for Archambault and Swanson, and the third for Phillips.

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