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STS-104 launch delayed again
Posted: Thu, Jun 7, 2001, 5:43 PM ET (2143 GMT)
STS-104 patch The launch of the space shuttle Atlantis has been delayed again, but only by a few days, shuttle officials announced Thursday. Shuttle managers said the launch of the shuttle on mission STS-104 was now scheduled for no earlier than July 7, five days later than previously announced. The reason for the slip is to give engineers more time to work out a problem with the robotic arm on the International Space Station. The Canadarm2 is required for the mission, since only it will be able to lift the airlock module carried on Atlantis out of the shuttle's cargo bay and install it on the station's Unity module. Problems with the arm over the last several weeks had already forced NASA to delay the launch from mid-June. In addition to the ISS arm problems, the launch schedule is complicated by a pending strike of over 600 United Space Alliance (USA) workers. Those workers, who operate cranes that move work platforms and the shuttle orbiter itself, have moved up their strike date one day to this Saturday at 12:01 am EDT (0401 GMT). USA officials say they can continue shuttle processing without problems by using non-striking employees and managers. Last-ditch talks to avoid a strike are planned for Friday, Florida Today reports.
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