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July 15, 2005

NASA: Soonest shuttle launch late next week

Going forward on a "day by day" basis, NASA engineers made it clear today that the earliest shuttle launch date would not come before last next week.

The engineers are still working to debug a troublesome fuel sensor in the cavernous main external tank. The sensor seemed to confuse 'full' and 'empty', a serious error compounded by the unpredictability of the fault. NASA had observed the same problem in fuel sensors during the last launch window in May. After taking the shuttle stack back to the Vehicle Assembly Building, the agency was unable to replicate the fault. For the error to show up only two hours before the actual launch time, with the shuttle astronauts strapped into their seats, seems a classic example of Murphy's Law.

Stay tuned for the latest over the coming days as we navigate our inside sources and the spectrum of the popular press to bring you the latest on the flight of STS-114.

Posted by george_whitesides at July 15, 2005 06:15 PM



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