KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) — The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, scheduled for Wednesday night, has been cancelled due to an apparent leak in the shuttle’s external fuel tank, according to NASA. Space shuttle Discovery readies for launch, which was scheduled for Wednesday night. Space shuttle Discovery readies for launch, which was scheduled for Wednesday night.
“A slight leak was detected in a gaseous hydrogen vent line,” NASA wrote on its Web site.
NASA says it may try another launch on Thursday at 8:54 p.m. EDT, “depending on what repairs are needed and what managers decide.”
From NASA: Launch Team Prepares Plan to Evaluate Leak
Wed, 11 Mar 2009 08:08:16 PM EDT
Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach said Wednesday that workers will take their first up-close look Thursday afternoon at the gaseous hydrogen vent line that began leaking during the countdown to Wednesday night’s launch attempt. The leak prompted a postponement of the STS-119 launch to the International Space Station.
The inspection could set a course for repair options that would allow another launch attempt as soon as Sunday.
Leinbach said the leak developed on the piping that runs from the fixed service structure, or launch tower, to a valve at the intertank section of the shuttle’s external tank. The pipe moves hydrogen gas away from the shuttle and to a flare stack near the launch pad that burns it away safely. He said there was never any danger to the shuttle while it was being fueled, but that the leak allowed too much gaseous hydrogen to escape the vent line.