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NASA delays shuttle launch till Saturday
Updated: 2005-07-14 07:14

NASA on Wednesday delayed the launch of shuttle Discovery until at least Saturday, postponing its first human space flight since the 2003 Columbia disaster due to a problem with a fuel sensor.

Japanese Astronaut Soichi Noguchi (L) and mission specialist Steve Robinson (C) are unstrapped by a NASA technician on the flight deck of the shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center, July 13, 2005. [Reuters]
"Well all I can say is shucks," said Wayne Hale, deputy shuttle program manager.

"We came out here all set to go today, we've been working really hard to be ready to go and we incurred a problem. It took us about five minutes of discussion to confirm that and decide that it was time to try another day."

Hale said the best case scenario would be a launch attempt on Saturday.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin previously said the earliest date for another launch attempt would be next Monday, but later said he had the date wrong.

Discovery was fueled and ready with the astronauts strapped in their seats for a planned launch at 3:51 p.m. EDT (1951 GMT) when the problem with the liquid hydrogen fuel sensor occurred at 1:32 p.m. (1732 GMT). The cause was not immediately clear.

Delays due to technical problems or bad weather are common during shuttle launches. With 2.5 million different parts, the two-decade old shuttles are complex machines.
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