Shuttle Launch Pushed Back to 2005

Space shuttle director Michael Kostelnik announced this week that work to return the shuttle fleet to flight was going slower than planned, probably pushing the next launch to March or April 2005. The delays have largely been caused by the difficulty engineers are having ensuring that chunks of foam can’t fall off the shuttle tank – like the one that led to the destruction of Columbia last year. NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe had already commented to a Congressional science committee that a launch this year was unlikely.