Flaw delays space shuttle rollout

The rollout of space shuttle Discovery to the launch pad was put on hold on Wednesday after a crack was discovered in the foam insulation on the external fuel tank.

    Nasa is trying to recover from the Columbia disaster setback

    The flaw was discovered as the spacecraft was being readied for the first shuttle launch since Columbia fell to pieces two years ago - a disaster blamed on a chunk of foam that fell off the tank during liftoff and gashed one of the wings.

    But Nasa later said the crack was no reason for concern.

    Nasa spokeswoman Jessica Rye described the flaw as a hairline crack and said that after sending images of it to the tank's manufacturer in Louisiana, the space agency concluded it did not need to make any repairs.

    She said Nasa would press ahead with the move from the assembly building to the launch pad, after a delay of at least two hours.

    "It doesn't sound like it's a major issue, but because the foam is a sensitive issue we want to make sure we're in a safe and right configuration"

    Jessica Rye,
    NASA spokeswoman

    Because of Columbia's disintegration over Texas in 2003 - and the deaths of all seven astronauts aboard - the tank has been extensively redesigned for Discovery's flight.

    "It doesn't sound like it's a major issue, but because the foam is a sensitive issue, we want to make sure we're in a safe and right configuration," Rye said earlier on Wednesday, when the crack was discovered.

    A delay in the moving of Discovery to the launch pad could upset Nasa's plans for a mid-May liftoff.

    The launch window runs from mid-May to June - a period dictated by the position of the international space station, the shuttle's destination.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Zimbabwe military's statement after seizing power

    Zimbabwe military's statement after seizing power

    Major General SB Moyo addresses the nation after Zimbabwe's military seizes state TV, blocks off government offices.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    Aamir Khan: The Snake Charmer

    Aamir Khan: The Snake Charmer

    Can Aamir Khan create lasting change in Indian society or is he just another Bollywood star playing the role of a hero?