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Shuttle cleared to continue mission
Posted: Sat, Mar 2, 2002, 6:07 PM ET (2307 GMT)
STS-109 patch (NASA) NASA managers decided Saturday to allow the space shuttle Columbia to continue its Hubble repair mission despite a problem with a clogged coolant line. Shuttle managers announced after meeting Saturday afternoon that the problem with a Freon line used to cool electronics on the orbiter was not serious enough to warrant returning the shuttle to Earth. Safety rules require the shuttle to return if coolant flow drops below a specified level, but engineers determined that the reduced flow should not pose a problem for the remainder of the mission, primarily the landing, when the coolant system is critical. The decision clears the way for the seven-person crew to proceed with their work on the Hubble Space Telescope, which will get started after the shuttle grapples the orbiting observatory early Sunday. Five spacewalks are scheduled to repair and refurbish the telescope.
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