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No Shuttle Launch Tonight, Next Attempt 11:59 p.m. Friday

27 Aug 2009, 17:52 UTC
No Shuttle Launch Tonight, Next Attempt 11:59 p.m. Friday
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NASA is postponing shuttle Discovery’s resupply mission to the International Space Station for a third time to give engineers more time to review tests of a potentially faulty valve in the ship's fuel tank. Launch had been targeted for 12:22 a.m. EDT Friday. The next opportunity to fly is at 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday. It's unusual for the shuttle to have two launch opportunities in the same day. Launch times are determined by when the space station flies over the shuttle’s launch site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which happens about once every 24 hours. The launch period moves up by about 23 minutes each day.The suspect valve, which is needed to drain fuel from the shuttle’s tank, apparently failed while the shuttle was being fueled for second launch try earlier this week. Bad weather stymied NASA’s first launch attempt Tuesday.NASA halted fueling, drained the tank and ordered tests to determine if the valve was actually broken or if sensors that monitor the equipment were to blame. Engineers cycled the valve five times without incident, but NASA decided to take another day to study the issue.The shuttle is stocked with laboratory equipment, food, supplies and spare parts for ...

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