Tue, November 02, 2010
Sci-Tech > Science > Space shuttle Discovery's final flight

U.S. space shuttle launch delayed to Nov. 3

2010-10-30 15:34:00 GMT2010-10-30 23:34:00 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The launch of space shuttle Discovery was re-targeted to Wednesday, Nov. 3, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Saturday.

The launch of Discovery was originally scheduled for Monday, but NASA decided Friday to delay it until Tuesday because of a leak in a pressurization system.

NASA technicians worked overnight to repair the leak in the system used to pressurize Discovery's right Orbital Maneuvering System rocket engine. They made good progress but are "slightly behind the timeline," according to NASA.

"It is not possible to launch space shuttle Discovery on Tuesday, Nov. 2," NASA said, adding it is "optimistic we can target launch for Wednesday, Nov. 3. The preferred liftoff time Nov. 3 would be 3:52 p.m. EDT (1952 GMT)."

The 11-day mission will be Discovery's final scheduled flight, and the fourth and final shuttle mission planned for 2010.

The six astronauts for the mission will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the International Space Station. The PMM was converted from the multipurpose logistics module Leonardo and will provide additional storage for the station crew. Experiments in such fields as fluid physics, materials science, biology and biotechnology may be conducted inside the module.

The PMM also carries Robonaut 2, the first human-like robot in space, which will become a permanent resident of the station. In addition, the flight will deliver critical spare parts and the Express Logistics Carrier 4, an external platform that holds large equipment.

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