After more than a month’s delays, the space shuttle Atlantis is finally ready to head back into space. NASA managers announced that they’ve targeted the shuttle for launch on February 7th, 2008 at 2:45 p.m. EST.
There’s one last little problem, though. Engineers inspecting the shuttle on Tuesday noticed a bent hose in its radiator cooling system. The hose runs from the shuttle body to the radiator panels on the cargo bay doors. It carries Freon to keep the shuttle’s systems cool in space.
So the question is: will the bend be a problem?
“Right now, that hose is perfectly functional,” Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale said. “Since the hose is not leaking now and the sister hose on Discovery didn’t leak on a number of flights, I’m feeling very positive we’ll come to a good conclusion. But we have to do our work here, the engineers have to do their work and we want to make sure we know what we’re doing before we go fly this vehicle.”
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Even though it’s got this bent hose, the shuttle managers feel confident enough to launch Atlantis anyway. But they’re planning to meet again on Saturday to evaluate their testing, and think of any other problems that could happen.
Original Source: NASA Shuttle Status Report