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NASA postpones STS-133 to February
Posted: Sat, Dec 4, 2010, 9:19 AM ET (1419 GMT)
STS-133: on pad before launch (NASA/KSC) NASA officials announced Friday they were delaying the launch of the space shuttle Discovery again, this time to at least early February, in order to perform more tests to understand the cracks found in the shuttle's external tank. The launch, which had been planned for December 17, is now scheduled for no earlier than February 3. Officials said they need more time to study cracks found in two aluminum brackets called "stringers" found last month when workers were repairing foam on the shuttle's tank. The cause of the cracks remains unknown, although no other cracks have been detected elsewhere on the tank. NASA is planning to conduct a tanking test later this month with instrumentation on the tank in the region where the cracking took place; the test will also verify repairs to a leaking hydrogen vent line that scrubbed a launch attempt last month. The delay in STS-133 will also push back the following shuttle mission, STS-134, from late February to early April.
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