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Bolt problem could delay next shuttle mission
Posted: Sat, Sep 29, 2001, 3:05 PM ET (1905 GMT)
Image of orbital maneuvering engine pod on shuttle (NASA/KSC) Misshapen bolt holes discovered during an inspection of one shuttle could delay the next shuttle flight, NASA confirmed Friday. In reports published by the Houston Chronicle and the Associated Press late Friday, NASA officials said that two misshapen holes were found by workers on the shuttle Columbia during a routine inspection a few weeks ago. The holes were at some of 12 attachment points where 5/16-inch bolts secure the orbital maneuvering pods on either side of the rear of the orbiter. Engineers believe the bolts were marred during machining, but are still trying to determine if they would weaken the attachment points. No decision has been made yet to inspect the other three orbiters in the fleet, including Endeavour, which is slated to lift off November 29 on STS-108. If NASA determines those inspections are needed, it could delay Endeavour's flight, although the length of any delay has not been stated.
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