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The Nation : Repairs to Gas Leak May Delay Shuttle

Technicians said repairs to a mysterious gas leak may delay the first post-Challenger space shuttle flight up to two months. Workers on the spacecraft Discovery at Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., using sophisticated equipment, believed they pinpointed the source of the leak at a reaction control system (RCS) oxidizer tank near the top of a metal pod that contains an engine used to help maneuver the shuttle in orbit. If Discovery has to be removed from the launch pad and taken to a processing facility for repairs, September’s planned launching with a five-man crew could be delayed as much as two months. But engineers were assessing the possibility of removing the engine pod on the launch pad, a never-attempted process considered very difficult.


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