Florida: The US space agency says it is considering a 17 June launch for the shuttle Endeavour after its mission to the International Space Station was postponed over a hydrogen leak.
Shuttle launch director Pete Nickolenko said on Sunday the root cause of the leak in Endeavour’s external fuel tank had not yet been determined but that the team was “confident” that repair procedures for a similar leak on space shuttle Discovery in March would work for the current mission.
Technicians at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center were expected to complete the repairs by 0600 am (1000 GMT) on Monday.
The leak in one of Endeavour’s venting systems was detected early Saturday just hours before the shuttle’s planned launch.
The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from the launch pad.
Nickolenko said that technicians had emptied Endeavour’s external tank, which contains some two million liters of liquid hydrogen and oxygen, in order to provide a safe environment for the technicians.
Endeavour’s new target blast-off date of Wednesday may present a conflict as Nasa has scheduled a liftoff on the same day for the Lunar crater observation and sensing satellite (LRO/LCROSS).