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Shuttle given tentative OK for February 28 launch
Posted: Fri, Feb 15, 2002, 8:38 AM ET (1338 GMT)
STS-109 rollout of Columbia to pad 39A Shuttle managers announced Thursday that they have decided to proceed with a February 28 launch attempt for Columbia despite concerns about hydraulic systems on the orbiter. NASA completed a flight readiness review for the STS-109 launch and decided to proceed with a launch at 6:48 am EST (1148 GMT) February 28. The launch date is tentative, though, and could be delayed if engineers find problems with bolts that attach hydraulic pumps to the orbiter's three auxiliary power units. Officials are concerned that lubrication mistakenly applied to the bolts would compromise their structural integrity; an analysis on that issue is in progress. STS-109 is the first flight of Columbia since the STS-93 mission in mid-1999, the last before undergoing a two-year overhaul. The mission will also be the fourth servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope, with five spacewalks planned to perform extensive repairs and upgrades to the orbiting observatory.
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