Once again NASA officials have decided to postpone the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery during a recent review of the shuttle’s readiness for flight. Upon this review NASA officials decided that more testing was necessary to help them find them identify what caused damage to a flow control valve in the November 2008 launch of the Shuttle Endeavor.
As a result their lack of confidence in the 100% safety of the flight, officials decided to postpone the flight once again. “We were not driven by schedule pressure and did the right thing. When we fly, we want to do so with full confidence, ” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. After, a plan is developed to inspect additional valves similar to those installed on Discovery, it will be reviewed during a meeting this week, then hopefully a new target launch date may be considered.
So, what’s so important about these flow control valves? The shuttle has three flow control valves that channel gaseous hydrogen from the main engines to the external fuel tank. Teams also have tried to determine the consequences if a valve piece were to break off and strike part of the shuttle and external fuel tank.