Status Report

NASA Managers Delay STS-107 Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
June 24, 2002
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NASA managers today temporarily suspended launch
preparations for Space Shuttle Columbia until they have a
better understanding of several small cracks found in metal
liners used to direct the flow inside main propulsion-system
propellant lines on other orbiters in the fleet.

Columbia’s launch on STS-107, previously planned for July 19,
will be delayed a few weeks to allow inspections of its flow
liners as part of an intensive analysis that is under way.

Recent inspections of Space Shuttle Atlantis and Space
Shuttle Discovery found cracks, measuring one-tenth to three-
tenths of an inch, in one flow liner on each of those
vehicles. Some of the cracks were not identifiable using
standard visual inspections and were only discovered using
more intensive inspection techniques.

“These cracks may pose a safety concern and we have teams at
work investigating all aspects of the situation,” said Space
Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore. “This is a very
complex issue and it is early in the analysis. Right now
there are more questions than answers. Our immediate
interests are to inspect the hardware to identify cracks that
exist, understand what has caused them and quantify the risk.
I am confident the team will fully resolve this issue, but it
may take some time. Until we have a better understanding, we
will not move forward with the launch of STS-107.”

The impact of the investigation on other upcoming space
shuttle launches has not been determined.

SpaceRef staff editor.