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Space Shuttle Discovery's Launch Delayed to May 31

Space Shuttle Discovery's Launch Delayed to May 31
The space shuttle Discovery's External Tank-128 rolls out of the Test and Checkout Building at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans en route to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the STS-124 mission. (Image credit: Lockheed Martin.)

NASA has set shuttle Discovery'snext launch for 5:01 p.m. EDT on May 31.

A cold front last weekprevented the externaltank from arriving from New Orleans until Wednesday. The delayed arrivalwill push back shuttle processing just as much.

NASA elected to move theliftoff date in order to avoid having the launch team work through the MemorialDay weekend.

The delay will affect otherprocessing events. The external tank to solid rocket booster mating is nowApril 13. Discovery will roll over to the Vehicle Assembly Building on April 26and roll out to the launch pad on May 5. The delays, however, leave enough timeto load the 37-footKibo laboratory built by the Japanese.

To make room for Kibo inthe payload bay, Discovery must fly without the 540-pound orbital sensing boomused to photograph the thermal tile to check for damage.

Endeavour, however,borrowed Discovery's boom for the previous mission and leftit at the International Space Station. After arriving at the space station,Discovery will pick up the boom and inspect the thermal tiles.

Discovery's mission,STS-124, is the 126th shuttle mission and the 26th mission to the space station.

Published under licensefrom FLORIDA TODAY. Copyright: 2008 FLORIDA TODAY. No portion of this materialmay be reproduced in any way without the written consent of FLORIDA TODAY.


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