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Technicians find blockage in shuttle coolant line
Posted: Sat, Mar 16, 2002, 8:31 PM ET (0131 GMT)
STS-109 Columbia after landing (NASA/KSC) Shuttle technicians have pinpointed the blockage in a coolant line in the shuttle Columbia, SPACE.com reported Friday. X-ray and ultrasound equipment located the blockage in the Freon coolant line in the first place they looked, in the rear engine compartment near some electronics boxes. The clogged line was discovered shortly after Columbia launched March 1 on the STS-109 Hubble repair mission. NASA considered bringing the shuttle down early, based on a conservative reading of shuttle flight rules, but decided to leave the shuttle in orbit because a second coolant line appeared to be working fine. The nature of the material causing the blockage, and how it will be removed, is still unknown. Columbia is scheduled to fly again in July on mission STS-107, but engineers don't know yet of the work needed to clear the coolant line will delay the flight.
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