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NASA finds apparent sabotage

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  • NASA reports apparent sabotage after computer found with wires cut
  • Computer supposed to be sent to the international space station in two weeks
  • NASA hopes to repair computer in time for August 7 launch
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) -- The U.S. space agency NASA on Thursday confirmed it had discovered the apparent sabotage of a noncritical component of the international space station due to be carried up by the space shuttle Endeavour. It launched an investigation after finding cut wires in a piece of computer equipment intended to transfer data from station sensors to the ground, the agency said.

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NASA says it discovered the apparent sabotage of a noncritical component of the international space station.

NASA said it will try to launch Endeavour on August 7 for the spacecraft's first mission in nearly five years.

Endeavour, fresh from a complete overhaul and the last of NASA's three remaining shuttles to return to flight following the 2003 Columbia disaster, is due to carry out a construction mission to the $100-billion space station.

It will be NASA's second shuttle flight of the year.

Endeavour was almost totally rebuilt during its overhaul and was like a new space shuttle, shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told reporters at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where the launch will take place.

"It's like driving a new car off the showroom floor," Hale said.

Endeavour's seven crew members include teacher-astronaut Barbara Morgan, who trained 22 years ago as the backup to teacher-in-space Christa McAuliffe, one of the astronauts who died when Challenger blew up at liftoff in January 1986.

Endeavour will be carrying a new support beam for the half-finished space station and a replacement gyroscope needed to help the outpost maintain its position in space.

Among the shuttle's upgrades is a new system that will enable the spacecraft to tap into the station's electrical system and stay longer at the outpost.

If the power transfer system works properly, NASA plans to extend Endeavour's mission from 11 to 14 days. That will allow time for the crew to finish extra work preparing the orbital outpost for the arrival later this year and next year of laboratories built by Europe and Japan.

It also will carry a module loaded with about 5,000 pounds of equipment and supplies for the station crew. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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