Volume: 03, Issue: 09 05/04/2005 
Rotating Service Structure is rolled back from around Space Shuttle Discovery at Launch Pad 39B for a propellant-loading test of Discovery's External Tank. Image courtesy NASA/KSC.
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STS-114 crew members pause on the runway before they prepare to take part in the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test. Image courtesy NASA/KSC.
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Cassini Targets Unique Saturnian Moons
Florida Welcomes Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
Energy of Earth Is Out of Balance
Send Your Students to Camp

NASA Delays Shuttle Launch Window

Following recent inspections of Space Shuttle Discovery, NASA has announced a new July 13 to 31 launch window for its Return to Flight mission. NASA said the new timeframe gives the agency more flexibility to perform additional work to ensure a safe flight for Discovery and its crew.

The announcement follows Space Shuttle Program reviews conducted over the past two weeks. Managers identified the need to do more work to make sure debris will not harm the shuttle and ensure ice will not form outside the shuttle.

"We're going to return to flight, we're not going to rush to flight," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. "Our intent with this effort is to make certain we are as safe as we know how to be before we launch the Space Shuttle and its crew. We want it to be right."

The STS-114 crew arrived for the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) on May 1, with countdown activities scheduled for May 4. Following the troubleshooting and TCDT activities, Discovery will roll back from the pad to the Vehicle Assembly Building, where a heater modification will be performed on the External Tank. The Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Raffaello will not be transferred to the pad as previously scheduled; it will be installed in Discovery's payload bay closer to launch.

"From the beginning we’ve been milestone-driven," said William Readdy, NASA associate administrator for Space Operations. "This time, the milestones on debris and ice analyses, propulsion system troubleshooting and External Tank modifications drove us to retarget for July."

The Return to Flight mission will take Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins and six crew members to the International Space Station. The mission is the first of two test flights to evaluate new thermal protection system inspection and repair techniques and to deliver supplies and equipment to the Station.

For more information, please visit www.nasa.gov/returntoflight .

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