NASA on Tuesday delayed this week’s launch of space shuttle Columbia by one day to install thermal insulation on a coolant loop.
Columbia is now scheduled to lift off Friday afternoon on its science mission.
Shuttle managers discovered that a coolant loop had been installed in Columbia without thermal insulation, said NASA spokesman Bruce Buckingham. They feared that water in the line might freeze in orbit and decided to add the insulation, he said. That work was to be conducted today.
While the shuttle has flown before without the insulating layer on the coolant loop, Columbia’s mission this time is longer than usual - 16 days. And Columbia’s flying position could be a thermal concern, too, Buckingham said.
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