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Discovery launch delayed again due to gas leak

By the CNN Wire Staff
NASA has called off Friday's launch of the space shuttle Discovery at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA has called off Friday's launch of the space shuttle Discovery at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Launch now put off until at least November 30
  • The shuttle was set to blast off Thursday afternoon
  • Discovery has flown more missions than any other shuttle
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(CNN) -- NASA has scrubbed Friday's launch of Space Shuttle Discovery after reporting a gaseous leak.

"Shuttle managers are evaluating a gaseous hydrogen leak at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate that attaches to the external (fuel) tank," the agency said.

The Discovery had geared up for a Friday afternoon launch after bad weather, gas leaks and electrical glitches forced repeated delays. The next launch attempt will be scheduled no sooner than 4:05 a.m. ET November 30, NASA said.

Shuttle managers had started fueling the shuttle's external tank in preparation for a 3:04 p.m. launch, NASA said early Friday. They were planning to load the tank with more than 500,000 gallons of liquid forms of oxygen and hydrogen.

Friday's delay was the latest in a series of setbacks for the 39th and final voyage for Discovery, the agency's oldest shuttle.

On Thursday, bad weather forced Discovery to delay its liftoff to the International Space Station by at least a day.

A planned Tuesday liftoff was canceled to fix a circuit glitch to a backup system that controls a main engine.

Before that, the shuttle was expected to blast off Monday, but Discovery was delayed to repair helium and nitrogen leaks in its system.

Discovery's six crew members are scheduled to deliver a pressurized logistics module that will help provide more storage to the space station.

"We've gotten into a configuration now on the space station where we have a lot of stuff and we don't have a lot of space to put it in," said Royce Renfrew, lead space station flight director for the mission.

Discovery has flown more missions than any other orbiter in the fleet.

It also made history along the way, NASA said. Discovery flew the first female shuttle pilot, the first African-American spacewalker and the first sitting member of Congress to go to space.