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Tile problem to delay next shuttle launch
Posted: Thu, May 24, 2001, 10:08 AM ET (1408 GMT)
STS-104 patch Wet tiles on the space shuttle Atlantis will force NASA to delay its launch next month by at least a few days, agency officials announced Wednesday. Shuttle managers said high moisture readings in about 500 tiles will keep Atlantis in its Orbiter Processing Facility bay at the Kennedy Space Center for a few extra days to allow workers extra time to dry out the tiles before moving the shuttle to the Vehicle Assembly Building. The tiles became wet after the shuttle was exposed to rainstorms following its landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California at the end of the STS-98 mission in February. NASA has tentatively scheduled a June 16 launch date for mission STS-104, two days later than previously planned, but notes that the launch date could be pushed back further depending on status of the tile drying efforts. STS-104 will carry an airlock to be installed on the Unity module of the International Space Station; the airlock will allow station crews to perform spacewalks.
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