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NASA: Shuttle STS-122 Atlantis Launch Now On Jan 2


NASA: Shuttle STS-122 Atlantis Launch Now On Jan 2

Space shuttle Atlantis' STS-122 mission to the International Space Station now is targeted to launch no earlier than Jan. 2 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. The liftoff date depends on the resolution of a problem in a fuel sensor system.

Early Sunday, one of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of Atlantis' external fuel tank gave a false reading while the tank was being filled. NASA's current Launch Commit Criteria require that all four sensors function properly.

The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low. Atlantis' scheduled launch on Thursday, Dec. 6, was delayed after two liquid hydrogen ECO sensors gave false readings.

The main objective of Atlantis' 11-day mission is to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, which will provide scientists around the world the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments.

EARLIER:

NASA Postpones Shuttle Atlantis Launch

NASA has delayed Sunday's launch of space shuttle Atlantis on its STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. Shuttle program managers made the decision at 7:24 a.m. EST after a failure occurred in a fuel sensor system while Atlantis' external fuel tank was being filled.

One of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of the tank gave a false reading. NASA's current Launch Commit Criteria require that all four sensors function properly. The sensor system is one of several that protect the shuttle's main engines by triggering their shut down if fuel runs unexpectedly low.

The Mission Management Team will meet at 9 a.m. Sunday to discuss the issue and a possible future launch date. A news conference will be held after the meeting's conclusion.

Atlantis' scheduled launch on Thursday was delayed after two liquid hydrogen ECO sensors gave false readings. A third sensor failed after the tank was drained of fuel.

The main objective of Atlantis' 11-day mission is to install and activate the European Space Agency's Columbus laboratory, which will provide scientists around the world the ability to conduct a variety of life, physical and materials science experiments.

For the latest information about the STS-122 mission and the ECO sensor system, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/shuttle

ENDS

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