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NASA News Science

Shuttle Launch Delayed Again, Possibly Until December 111

Posted by samzenpus
from the catch-you-next-month dept.
An anonymous reader writes "NASA engineers worked overnight trying to fix the electrical problem that forced the launch of space shuttle Discovery to be delayed again. Mission managers will meet later Wednesday to figure out if a launch on Thursday is even possible. The tentative plan is to have Discovery lift off Thursday at 3:29pm. If that does not happen it would be rescheduled for Sunday. If it cannot launch Sunday then it will have to wait until December. NASA engineers have a lot of work on their hands Wednesday morning. Discovery has an electrical issue that forced officials to postpone its liftoff, which had been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon."
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Shuttle Launch Delayed Again, Possibly Until December

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  • Re:Why bother? (Score:3, Informative)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:02PM (#34116274)

    Thus speaks someone who as never seen a launch and believes things like the Hubble telescope shouldn't be serviced.

    But no telescope since Hubble has been designed for manned servicing because it's proven cheaper to launch a new one than to send astronauts there.

    Servicing Hubble made sense when a shuttle flight was supposed to cost $10,000,000 (maybe $50,000,000 in today's money), but not now it's proven to cost over $1,000,000,000.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday November 03, 2010 @04:04PM (#34116302) Homepage Journal
    This article [spaceflightnow.com] contains some more specifics regarding the problem. Apparently one of the main engine controller computers (the computers that regulate main engine gimbaling and throttle control) failed to power up properly. There was a short time period where a low-voltage occurred which flagged a boot-up sequence issue. Engineers are trying to figure out what caused the voltage drop and, thus, triggered the error in the processor initialization. More information regarding the SSME controllers can be found here [wikipedia.org].

    Apparently the breaker that controls the processor was cycled five times over night. Engineers are guessing that the cycling caused some funny transient anomalies in the circuit which caused the fault. Despite the fault, the main events controller for the shuttle system was brought to full power and is operating nominally, so it's not like the whole computer is crap. NASA just wants to be sure that, a) the fault was actually caused by the breaker cycling and b) the fault won't cause further glitches in any of the other controller systems on the shuttle.

    Interesting stuff indeed. It's probably a good thing that NASA is demanding certainty from it's engineers before clearing Discovery for launch.

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