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STS-107 LAUNCH DELAYED



SUBMITTED BY ARTHUR-N1ORC


Ed Campion
Headquarters, Washington                    June 24, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1694)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Bruce Buckingham
Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
(Phone: 321/867-2468)

RELEASE: 02-117

NASA MANAGERS DELAY STS-107 LAUNCH

     NASA managers today temporarily suspended launch 
preparations for Space Shuttle Columbia until they have a 
better understanding of several small cracks found in metal 
liners used to direct the flow inside main propulsion-system 
propellant lines on other orbiters in the fleet.

Columbia's launch on STS-107, previously planned for July 19, 
will be delayed a few weeks to allow inspections of its flow 
liners as part of an intensive analysis that is under way. 

Recent inspections of Space Shuttle Atlantis and Space 
Shuttle Discovery found cracks, measuring one-tenth to three-
tenths of an inch, in one flow liner on each of those 
vehicles. Some of the cracks were not identifiable using 
standard visual inspections and were only discovered using 
more intensive inspection techniques.

"These cracks may pose a safety concern and we have teams at 
work investigating all aspects of the situation," said Space 
Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore. "This is a very 
complex issue and it is early in the analysis. Right now 
there are more questions than answers. Our immediate 
interests are to inspect the hardware to identify cracks that 
exist, understand what has caused them and quantify the risk. 
I am confident the team will fully resolve this issue, but it 
may take some time. Until we have a better understanding, we 
will not move forward with the launch of STS-107."

The impact of the investigation on other upcoming space 
shuttle launches has not been determined.
     

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