NASA delays STS-114 launch

by Chris Bergin

NASA has announced a new ‘no sooner than’ launch date for Shuttle Discovery’s STS-114 mission, confirming a story ran on this site yesterday.

A press conference was held on Wednesday, with NASA managers informing reporters that an internal review – held late on Tuesday – has resulted in a new window of May 22nd to June 3.

New administrator Mike Griffin was in attendance at the Kennedy Space Center to hear of the current progress made towards returning the Shuttle fleet to flight. NASA originally was shooting towards a May 15 (as a ‘no sooner than’) launch date.
No immediate clarification has been given on what led to the decision to delay, although it was noted by two sources that paperwork – by way of certification – is behind schedule to the extent that the delay was implemented.
The Debris Verification Reviews is one such central issue in regards to ensuring potential hazards from foam and ice strikes on the Orbiter on assent are reduced as much as possible.
No word has been received on how troubleshooting work on two failed Engine Cut Out (ECO) sensors is progressing – and if this played a part in the delay. Work started yesterday on fixing the problem which was noted after last week’s Tanking Test.
NASA now has a reduced window of opportunity. Should Discovery fail to launch by June 3, STS-114 will be moved to a new two week window in the second half of July – currently on the launch manifest for Shuttle Atlantis and STS-121.

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