World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


NASA Delays Launch Due To Fuel Tank Problem

By Brian Wagner

NASA Delays Launch Due to Fuel Tank Problem

NASA has delayed until Friday the launch of space shuttle Atlantis after engineers discovered problems with the shuttle's external tank. The shuttle is set to deliver a new laboratory to the International Space Station.

NASA officials say they discovered the problem as they were filling the shuttle's external tank with liquid hydrogen at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers agreed to delay Thursday's scheduled launch to allow time to inspect two malfunctioning fuel sensors in the tank and perform any needed repairs.

Officials say they hope to launch on Friday, if the problem is resolved.

The shuttle Atlantis is to carry into space a seven-meter-long research laboratory called Columbus, built by the European Space Agency. Alan Thirkettle, station program manager for the European agency, says the Europeans have invested more than two decades of work and a great deal of pride in the space module.

"The taxpayers as well should share in that pride. I hope they are going to not only see and enjoy the mission itself, but also benefit from the work that goes on inside Columbus," said Thirkettle.

The seven-member crew of Atlantis will conduct at least three space walks to attach the $2 billion module to the International Space Station. European officials say the lab will enable astronauts to perform scores of experiments into biotechnology and medicine, as well as into conditions that may affect astronauts on long-term space flight.

The 17-nation European Space Agency also is developing a system to launch automated missions that will deliver supplies to the space station next year.

The Atlantis flight is one in a series of missions planned to speed the expansion of the International Space Station by 2010. In February, officials plan to begin a series of three shuttle flights to deliver the components of a Japanese-built research module called Kibo.


More: Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news