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NASA delays picking launch date

By Jishpar     Mar 22, 2007 in Technology
NASA has not yet decided its launch date of the year's first space shuttle mission.
NASA manager told they are not going to decide about the date until next month. They have to give technicians more time to assess hail damage to Atlantis' external fuel tank.
This launch was postponed due to the golf-ball-size hail caused thousands of dings on foam insulation on the fuel tank as the shuttle sat on the launch pad last month.
It was actually expected to launch last week itself. Technicians have spent two weeks erecting scaffolding around the external tank and sanding down some parts of the foam insulation.
The foam is of special concern since a chunk of it flew off during space shuttle Columbia's launch in 2003 and struck the orbiter. The damage allowed fiery gases to penetrate Columbia during re-entry, breaking up the craft and killing its seven astronauts.
First there would be a launch of Russian Soyuz vehicle completes a mission to the international space station in the first part of April and later the launch of Atlantis happens.
More about NASA, Delays, Launch date
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