Sun, Feb 08, 2009
Launch Will Occur No Sooner Than February 22
Add three more days -- at least -- to NASA's timeframe for the
upcoming launch of the space shuttle Discovery. Due to an ongoing
review of the space shuttle's flow control valves, NASA managers
announced Friday liftoff on the STS-119 mission will occur no
sooner than February 22.
The space agency says the extended delay is due to ongoing
analysis and particle impact testing associated with a flow control
valve in the shuttle's main engines. The valve is one of three that
channels gaseous hydrogen from the engines to the external fuel
As ANN reported last week, NASA found one of
those valves damaged in Endeavour after that shuttle's mission in
November. As a precaution, Discovery's valves were removed,
inspected and reinstalled.
The STS-119 mission fly the S6 truss segment and install the
final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International
Space Station. The S6 truss, with its set of large US solar arrays,
will complete the backbone of the station and provide one-fourth of
the total power needed to support a crew of six.
Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery's crew of seven,
along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph
Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold and Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.
Wakata will replace Expedition 18 Flight Engineer Sandra Magnus,
who will return to Earth with the STS-119 crew. Wakata will serve
as a flight engineer for Expeditions 18 and 19, and return to Earth
with the STS-127 crew.
The Space Shuttle Program will hold a meeting February 13 to
review data and determine whether to move forward with a flight
readiness review on February 18. The official STS-119 launch date
will be set at the readiness review.
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