Discovery Will Attempt to Launch Thursday Though Weather Might Force Another Delay


Kennedy Space Center - Wednesday afternoon NASA's Mission Management Team met at 2:45 pm EDT to review the main engine #3 backup controller issue which caused a day's delay in the launch of space shuttle Discovery.

After discussing the causes of the problem managers feel confident the issue has been resolved to their satisfaction and that they understand the problem enough and will go forward with an attempt to launch Discovery on Thursday. This despite a weather forecast which currently is not favorable and has a 70% chance of violating the constraints for launch.

The issue which caused the delay came up Tuesday morning during engine check-outs when engine #3's backup engine controller did not come up as expected. The problem was determined to be transient contamination and after a thorough review of the data including past mission data it was decided unanimously to go ahead.

With the go ahead given to attempt launch on Thursday, NASA will resume the countdown clock at 11:04 pm EDT tonight. At 4:04 am EDT the countdown clock will stop for a planned two hour hold. This in part allows the mission management team to meet at 5:30 am EDT to discuss the status of the weather and whether or not to give the go to begin tanking at 6:04 am EDT at which time the countdown clock will come out of its hold. Weather permitting Discovery will launch on her final mission at 3:29 pm EDT.

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