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Shuttle safely in hangar for new fuel tank

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Discovery completed a nearly 10-hour trek back to the hangar Thursday to have a new and safer fuel tank installed, along with a heater to prevent a dangerous buildup of ice on its surface.

The spacecraft is being readied for liftoff in mid-July on the first shuttle flight since the Columbia disaster 2 1/2 years ago.

Discovery was already on the launch pad when NASA concluded that ice that forms on the external tank when it is filled with super-cold fuel could break off during liftoff and prove as lethal as the chunk of foam insulation that doomed Columbia.


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