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Shuttle Launch Postponed Due To ET Delays And Solar Energy Shortage

File image of a Shuttle external tank being delivered.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral (AFP) Feb 20, 2008
The US space shuttle Discovery's mission to ship part of the Japanese laboratory Kibo up to the International Space Station will be delayed one month to May 25, NASA said Wednesday.

The mission was put off by a delay in the delivery of the Discovery's external fuel tank and an unfavorable angle between the sun and the ISS for solar power generation between May 7 and May 25, which could have affected the mission in its originally planned period.

The fuel tank was to have been delivered in time for the Discovery's original April 25 launch date, but was slowed due to the problem of malfunctioning fuel gauges that first stalled by two months the Atlantis mission -- which was finally completed Wednesday with its safe landing at the Kennedy Space Center here.

The new date for the Discovery's mission will not impact the rest of the shuttle launch program for 2008, National Aeronautics and Space Administration chief Bill Gerstenmaier told reporters after the Atlantis landed here.

The Japanese-made Kibo ("Hope") laboratory consists of three parts. The first part, the logistics module, will be carried to the ISS by the shuttle Endeavour, scheduled to launch on March 11.

Discovery will then deliver the laboratory's pressurized module and robotic arm.

The laboratory's third part, an inter-orbit communications systems unit, will be delivered by a third shuttle mission at a later date.

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US space shuttle Atlantis returns home
Cape Canaveral, Florida (AFP) Feb 20, 2008
The shuttle Atlantis safely landed in Florida Wednesday, completing a successful mission to install Europe's first space laboratory.







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