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Shuttle launch delayed until November 22
Posted: Sat, Nov 16, 2002, 11:30 AM ET (1630 GMT)
STS-113 pach (NASA) NASA officials announced Friday night that the launch of the shuttle Endeavour would be delayed four more days, until November 22, to continue work on two technical issues. While a leak in an oxygen line in the shuttle Endeavour was fixed, engineers believe that the cause of the leak may have been fatigue; shuttle managers decided to replace a similar hose as a precaution. A preliminary examination of Endeavour's robot arm, damaged when a work platform collided with it earlier in the week, concluded that some delamination of its carbon composite structure had taken place. The delay will given engineers more time to study the delamination and determine if the arm can still operate. If the arm is too badly damaged to be used, Endeavour may have to be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building so that the arm can be replaced. That move, a worst-case scenario, would delay the launch of mission STS-113 until January, since unfavorable sun angles would prohibit a launch for much of December. One alternative under study would be to fly the mission without the arm at all, relying on the station's robot arm alone to move the shuttle's payload, a truss segment, from the cargo bay to the appropriate location on the truss. That play would still delay the launch until early December because of additional training and replanning required. Shuttle managers blamed the collision itself on human error, saying that a spotter became distracted and failed to call out a warning to stop the platform in time.
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