Technicians at the US National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) discovered four more small cracks in the space shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank.
The newly found cracks could force managers to delay Discovery's launch further; however, the space agency said that it would be too early to comment on any further delay. Originally, Discovery was scheduled to blast off on 5th of November, but was delayed several times due to such cracks and necessary repairs. For the time being, NASA has plans to launch Discovery on 3rd of February.
NASA technicians in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Florida-based Kennedy Space Center discovered newest cracks on the top ends of three "stringers" on panel 6. Stringers are aluminum strips that provide structural integrity by fitting between liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen parts of the fuel tank.
Technicians are evaluating the newly discovered cracks. Speaking on the topic, NASA said, "The newly detected cracks currently are under evaluation."
After getting repaired, Discovery will go on an eleven-day supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). It will deliver a new storage room and a humanoid robot helper for the ISS crew.
It will be Discovery's final flight.
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