CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- Space shuttle Discovery's upcoming flight to the Hubble Space Telescocrapped because of wiring repairs. "We're not going to make Dec. 2, that's for sure," Navias said. "But where we wind up is under review."
Navias said he anticipates a launch delay of just a few days. It will take 10 days to replace the engine; the work will be done at the launch pad. The last thing NASA wants is debris inside a shuttle main engine, no matter how small. The broken drill bit is just a half-inch long and weighs half a gram.
During Columbia's launch in July, hydrogen fuel seeped from three ruptured tubes in the right engine nozzle. The tubes were damaged just before liftoff by a pin that came loose inside the engine and hurtled down through the combustion chamber. If more fuel had leaked, the shuttle might have had to make an emergency landing.
Discovery's Hubble repair mission had been scheduled for mid-October, but was delayed because of wiring inspections and repairs that essentially grounded the entire shuttle DAG'short circuit seconds into Columbia's launch in July.
Technicians discovered exposed wire in 57 places in Discovery; each one of them was repaired. NASA also is looking into a possible tile problem with Discovery. A batch of thermal tile has been found to be unsuitable for flight, and engineers want to make sure none of those tiles is on Discovery.