Foam Issue Will Not Delay Shuttle Launch Attempt

Editor's note 3 July 9:00 pm EDT: After examining the foam loss issue in depth, NASA has decided to continue the countdown for a launch attempt tomorrow.

NASA continues to prepare for a third launch attempt for STS-121 while dealing with foam shedding issues.

During an inspection of the Shuttle's External Tank it was discovered that an external liquid oxygen line outside of the tank apparently shed a very small piece of foam as a result of the expansion/contraction of the tank that results from the loading and unloading of cryogenic propellants.

The piece weighed .00577 pounds.

The line is designed to flex during this process and apparently pinched off a small piece of foam as it flexed during a fueling/draining cycle.

NASA is going to continue to prepare for another launch attempt while studying this issue.

The Mission Management Team met this morning to discuss this issue - and will meet again tonight at 6:30 pm EDT and decide whether to go ahead and attempt to launch tomorrow - or wait while this issue is addressed further.

According to NASA's Mike Linebach "we have a good chance to launch tomorrow". Weather conditions on Tuesday stand only a 40% of preventing a launch - but will worsen such that the risk increases to 60% on Wednesday.

The launch of STS-121 is now planned for Tuesday at 2:37 pm EDT.

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