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

Falling foam knocked a hole in Columbia's wing at liftoff, and superheated gases ate into the breach 16 days later when the spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere for landing, causing the craft to disintegrate.

Discovery's main mission is to test new safety measures introduced after Columbia, and it will also deliver much-needed supplies and equipment to the space station.

The station's construction has been stalled since the remaining three-shuttle fleet was grounded after Columbia broke apart.

Discovery's flight heralds the last chapter for the shuttle fleet, which is set to be retired in 2010 after up to 20 construction flights to the station.

The shuttle's resumption of flight and its eventual retirement will also mark the first step in NASA's new vision of returning to the moon, and of heading to Mars and beyond when the U.S. space agency replaces the shuttle with a new generation of spacecraft.

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