Thursday, November 25, 2010
STS-133 Discovery Launch Delayed Again
Workers spray foam insulation on a section of repaired stringers on STS-133's external tank. Photo source: NASA.
Florida Today reports that the STS-133 launch has been delayed again, this time to no earlier than December 17.
Discovery's final flight will launch no earlier than Dec. 17 as NASA continues to investigate what caused cracks in metal brackets on the shuttle's external tank earlier this month.
The cracks have been repaired, but engineers are still searching for the root cause behind the problem and studying the potential risk if more cracks occurred during flight.
According to a NASA press release, the next status review will be on December 2. "If managers clear Discovery for launch on Dec. 17, the preferred time is about 8:51 p.m. EST."
SpaceFlightNow.com has an excellent analysis of the problem and its consequences.
The next Space Coast launch is scheduled to be the SpaceX Falcon 9 test flight on December 7.