Discovery launch postponed to repair hail damage
May 13, 1999
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- NASA said Thursday that the May 20 launch of the space shuttle Discovery will be delayed by one week to repair the orbiter's external tank, damaged this week by hail.
Discovery will be rolled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building so that holes too hard to reach and fix on the launch pad can be repaired.
"We're not sure just how much damage was done to the tank that we can't get access to," said NASA spokesman Bruce Buckingham.
A recent hail storm pelted the shuttle with up to 150 small holes which could cause problems during liftoff, according to NASA's George Diller. Ice could form in the holes which could damage the orbiter on liftoff.
"The concern is that the ice would dislodge and strike the orbiter and damage the thermal protective system and windows," Diller said.
NASA estimates the repairs will take about four days, and has set May 27th as the earliest possible launch date.
This would be the first space shuttle launch in six months and the second mission to bring supplies to the International Space Station under construction.
Space Shuttle Discovery ready for May 20 launch
NASA Human Spaceflight
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