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Shuttle launch slips to June
Posted: Wed, Apr 11, 2007, 9:51 AM ET (1351 GMT)
STS-117: hail damage to external tank (NASA/KSC) The next space shuttle launch is now scheduled for no earlier than June 8 after shuttle managers concluded Tuesday that they need more time to complete repairs of the shuttle's external tank. The STS-117 mission was scheduled to launch in mid-March, but was delayed when the insulating foam on the external tank was damaged in a freak hailstorm while on the launch pad in late February. NASA had originally hoped to complete repairs in time to accommodate a mid-May launch, but concluded Tuesday that they need more time. However, managers decided not to swap the tank with one planned for use on the next flight, a move that might have further delayed the launch. NASA officials said that, despite the delay, they believe that can still get off four shuttle missions this year, with future launches planned in August, October, and December.
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