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Air leak delays Shuttle Discovery's last mission

From the CNN Wire Staff
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Discovery's last mission delayed
  • NEW: Weather experts predict 70 percent chance of good launch weather
  • Engineers expect it will take a day to fix the air leak
  • The Discovery could launch on Tuesday
  • NASA will retire the Discovery after it's November mission

(CNN) -- A mechanical problem forced NASA to delay the final launch of the Space shuttle Discovery at least until next Tuesday, the space agency said Friday.

Engineers found an air leak in the right hand Orbital Maneuvering System Pod, which they say will take a day to repair.

Launchtime on Tuesday is set for 4:12 p.m., when weather experts predict a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather, NASA said.

The Discovery's 11-day flight, which had been set to launch on Monday, will be a "very busy mission," according to NASA Flight Director Bryan Lunney.

"After we fly around the Earth about 170 times, Discovery will come home for its last flight," Lunney said during a news conference last month. "The crew is ready to go."

The six-member crew, led by Cmdr. Steven Lindsey, will install a new "permanent multipurpose module" called Leonardo on the International Space Station.

This will be the 133rd space shuttle mission and the final one for Discovery. The shuttle Endeavour is set to launch February 26, and Congress passed a bill this month authorizing another, final space shuttle mission.