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Mon, May 02, 2005

STS-114 Crew: Delaying Discovery Was The Right Thing To Do

Collins: "I Truly Believe We've Made The Right Decision"

Earthbound for at least two more months, you'd think STS-114 Commander Eileen Collins would be disappointed. Nope.

"I truly believe we've made the right decision in going to July," Collins told Florida Today. "It's going to give the teams more time to prepare. And like anything in life, the longer you prepare for something, the better it's going to be. We want this mission to be very, very successful."

As ANN reported late last week, the launch of Discovery -- NASA's first shuttle mission since Columbia disintegrated during re-entry two years ago -- was delayed from the May-June window until at least July. Engineers are dealing with redesign and safety issues that remain after the shuttle's external fuel tank was redesigned to prevent debris falling from the tank and impacting the orbiter itself. It was just such a scenario that investigators say caused the destruction of Columbia.

Discovery now won't launch until at least July 13th. The shuttle will now be trucked back to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. There's no date set for rolling the shuttle back to Launch Pad 39B.

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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