Fuel Valve Concerns Push Back Space Shuttle Launch

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA has delayed next week's launch
of space shuttle Discovery by at least a week over concerns about
fuel valves.

Discovery had been scheduled to launch Feb. 12 on a space station construction mission. But on Tuesday, NASA said it will launch no sooner than Feb. 19.

NASA spaceflight chief Bill Gerstenmaier says more time is needed to study three gaseous hydrogen flow control valves that were replaced aboard Discovery.

If a lip of a valve were to break off during launch, it could cause serious damage. A small part of the valve broke off during the last shuttle launch in November, but no harm was done.

Top NASA managers decided on the delay after spending meeting
Monday at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to discuss launch
preparations.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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