U.S. puts off launch of Discovery till February

14:39, December 05, 2010      

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The launch of space shuttle Discovery will be belayed until February, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced Friday.

Space shuttle Discovery's launch "has been targeted for no earlier than Feb. 3, 2011, to allow for more testing on the intertank stringers on the external tank," NASA said on its website.

Discovery was originally supposed to lift off in early November, but a hydrogen leak and a series of long cracks on the shuttle's external fuel tank forced NASA to postpone its launch for several times.

The latest delay will possibly have an impact on the launch of shuttle Endeavor, which had been scheduled to lift off at the end of February.

Discovery's 11-day mission is its final scheduled flight. The six astronauts for the mission will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the station. Two space walks, for maintenance work and component installation, are scheduled.

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 an external platform that holds large equipment.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:李牧(实习))

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