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STS-114 crew completes launch rehearsal
Posted: Thu, May 5, 2005, 8:39 AM ET (1239 GMT)
STS-114 crew heads to pad for test (NASA/KSC) The crew of the first post-Columbia shuttle mission wrapped up a dress rehearsal for its July launch this week, encountering only a few minor glitches. The test was a full-scale countdown to the T-5 second mark, a routine procedure prior to each shuttle launch but one that has received increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the Columbia accident. During the rehearsal two problems were encountered that would have scrubbed an actual launch attempt: poor weather and a problem with an Air Force tracking system. NASA officials and the STS-114 crew pronounced the practice a success, but noted that much more work was needed before the shuttle could launch in July. That work will require rolling the shuttle Discovery back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to install heaters on portions of the exterior of its external tank to avoid ice buildup. Some shuttle engineers believe it will be difficult to complete all the work required to meet the currently-planned July 13 launch date.
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