Feeds

Space shuttle launch knocked back again

Pesky fuel sensor woes continue

Application security programs and practises

Pesky fuel sensors have forced NASA to put back the launch of space shuttle Atlantis beyond the current target date of 10 January, Reuters reports.

The offending sensors - which monitor liquid hydrogen levels in the vessel's fuel tank - have twice caused cancelled lift-offs. Of the first incident in early December, NASA explained: "On Thursday morning, two of the four engine cutoff, or ECO, sensors inside the liquid hydrogen section of the tank failed a routine prelaunch check. Following the launch postponement, the tank's liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen were drained.

"While the tank was being emptied, engineers monitored and collected data on the liquid hydrogen sensors that failed. During that process, another sensor gave a false reading, indicating that the tank was 'wet', when it was dry."

NASA subsequently proposed splicing jumper cables into "about 100 feet of wiring that runs between fuel sensors in the shuttle's tank and the ship's engine compartment", and reckons it's now identified the problem - a "two-sided, plug-like connector" which relays electrical signals from the sensors.

NASA will remove the suspect part on Saturday and send it off for testing at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Engineers, meanwhile have suggested that if the fault can't be traced, they can simply dispense with the connector altogether and solder the wires in place.

The upshot of the latest episode in the sensor saga is that the launch of Atlantis will be put back by "a few days to a few weeks", according to programme manager Wayne Hale. He told reporters: "We need to get the problem resolved. Then we'll look at schedules." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.