October 19, 2010

Discovery’s Fuel Leak Will Not Delay Final Launch

NASA said that a fuel leak near Discovery's orbital engine pods will not delay its expected November 1 launch to the International Space Station.

Technicians will check the tightness of six bolts on a flange where propellant lines connect to the right-hand Orbital Maneuvering System pod.

Each pod houses an engine and smaller thrusters that help the shuttle move around in orbit.

If tightening the bolts does not stop the leak, the next step would be to drain the pod's monomethyl hydrazine fuel and replace a seal on the flange.

NASA has scheduled four extra days to take care of technical problems, which officials say will be enough to keep the launch on schedule.

"It's expected that it wouldn't cause an interference with the targeted launch date," Candrea Thomas, a KSC spokeswoman, told USA Today.

Officials plan to meet next Monday at Kennedy Space Center to officially set a launch date for the Discovery.


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