Tuesday, November 02, 2010

NASA Runs Into Minor Snag But Shuttle Launch Still Wednesday

Problems encountered during the loading of shuttle Discovery's fuel cell system put countdown to the planned launch Wednesday of shuttle Discovery a bit behind schedule, but managers are confident preparations will be back on track today.

Engineers detected trouble with gaseous nitrogen regulators and check valves during the loading of supercold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen into the shuttle's fuel cell system late Monday. The system combines the chemical reactants to produce electricity to power spaceship systems. Technicians swapped out suspect components and then pressed ahead with the operation but it was completed about two hours behind schedule.

NASA shuttle countdowns include lengthy built-in holds just in case trouble crops up during launch preps and work falls behind schedule. Managers and engineers expect to be caught up within the next few hours. The countdown will enter a 13-hour, 27-minute hold at 10 a.m.

Liftoff remains scheduled for 3:52 p.m. Wednesday.

The weather forecast remains good with a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions for launch on Wednesday.

The weather, however, is expected to degrade significantly by Thursday. There's only a 30 percent chance of acceptable weather that day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well thank goodness, FT will can catch their breath. Only one big story today, unless you count the Giants winning the WS a big story for FLorida. oh no . .