Launch of space shuttle Discovery postponed

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Washington, Nov 6 (ANI): NASA has postponed the launch of space shuttle Discovery to no earlier than 4:05 a.m. EST on Nov. 30.

The reason behind the delay is a hydrogen gas leak detected while filling the external tank Friday morning. Engineers and technicians will also assess a foam crack on the external fuel tank's liquid oxygen intertank flange. The crack was discovered during de-tanking operations.

"We always place safety first," said NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier.

"It is essential we repair this hardware before we fly the mission, and we will take the time to properly understand and fix the failure before we launch."

Discovery's 11-day STS-133 mission will deliver the Permanent Multipurpose Module to the International Space Station. Inside the PMM is Robonaut 2, which will become a permanent resident of the station.

R2 will be used to test how dexterous robots behave in space. STS-133 also is carrying critical spare components to the space station and the Express Logistics Carrier 4. ELC 4 is an external platform that holds large equipment. The mission will feature two spacewalks to do maintenance work and install new components.

STS-133 is the final shuttle mission planned for 2010, Discovery's 39th and final scheduled flight; and the 35th shuttle mission to the station. (ANI)

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