The launch of Discovery has been delayed to no-earlier-than Feb. 19th.
The delay is to provide additional time for the engineering team to address an issue with a Main Propulsion System flow control valve.
The next Flight Readiness Review will be held on Feb. 12th at which time a new launch date would be assigned.
As of Friday, Flight Readiness Review will be held on Feb 18, and the launch has now slipped to no earlier than Feb. 22.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
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Summary From Florida Today:
... as a result of lingering trouble with critical valves in the orbiter's main propulsion system.
... the agency still is not comfortable with three newly installed flow control valves that arrived at KSC late last week.
NASA program managers ordered the change-out after a gaseous hydrogen flow control valve failed to work properly during the launch last November of shuttle Endeavour.
Similar to pop-up lawn sprinklers, the poppet valves are critical to keeping pressure within the external tank's liquid hydrogen reservoir at proper levels as the shuttle is thundering toward orbit and propellant in the tank is fed into the orbiter's three main engines.
One of the three GH2 flow control valves on Endeavour failed to operate as intended during ascent, but the other two compensated and the spaceship zoomed into orbit.
NASA wants to make certain that Discovery is equipped with three good GH2 flow control valves. The valve swap was completed over the weekend, but engineers want to continue an analyses aimed at determining that a valve failure would not endanger the shuttle or its crew.
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