Space shuttle Endeavour launch cancelled due to gas leak

June 17th, 2009 - 6:35 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Space shuttle Endeavour For the second time in less than a week a gas leak has postponed the launch of space shuttle Endeavour.

Nasa technicians discovered hydrogen gas leaking from a vent line on an external fuel tank early Wednesday morning as preparation were being made to continue the launch postponed on Saturday for the same reason.

A Nasa statement said, “at 1.55am (05.55 GMT) launch managers called a scrub, cancelling today’s planned launch of space shuttle Endeavour on its STS-127 mission.

“Despite troubleshooting efforts, engineers were unable to achieve a decrease in the liquid hydrogen leak.”

For an hour after the leak appeared during fuelling, engineers tried to fix the problem through remote commands. But they were finally forced to call off the pre-dawn launch from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

The shuttle was scheduled to deliver part of a Japanese laboratory to the International Space Station (ISS).

According to Nasa, the flight cannot be rescheduled before July 11 because the angle of the Sun between June 22 and July 10 would mean the shuttle would overheat while docked at the ISS.

During the mission, the ISS will be a temporary home to 13 astronauts - the first time so many have stayed on the station at once – and astronauts will carry-out five space walks to to attach a permanent platform weighing 1.9 tonnes (4256 pounds) to Japan’s Kibo laboratory aboard the ISS.

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