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Shuttle grounded

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Sadly, Shuttle did not launch yesterday.

NASA says that a faulty fuel gauge is to blame - it showed a fuel tank to be nearly empty, when in fact in was nearly full. This could cause the engines to cut out at the wrong point of the Shuttle's ascent, mission controllers explained, which would, clearly, not be a good thing.

NASA is working to find out what caused the fault, and to correct it.

No new date has been set for a launch, but it is thought unlikely that Shuttle will lift off before Monday.

Since this seems to be happening with alarming regularity, we are considering setting up a template "Shuttle hasn't launched" story. Readers will be able to choose from a variety of reasons for the failed launch. For example:

"Shuttle launch was delayed for 10 minutes/ten hours/ten days/indefinitely after engineers discovered a pigeon/tile/astronaut had built a nest in the conning tower/got a screw loose/got a screw loose and built a nest in the conning tower"....

Our thanks to Charles Arthur for the very witty suggestion. ®

Related stories

Return to flight: the countdown begins
Shuttle is go for launch
Hurricane Dennis menaces Shuttle

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