NASA's Mission Management Team today delayed launch of the shuttle Atlantis on a critical space station assembly mission to at least Jan. 2. Now NASA will try to troubleshoot elusive, intermittent electrical problems with low-level hydrogen fuel sensors that derailed launch attempts Thursday and again in Sunday.
The shuttle's current launch window closes Dec. 13 because of space station power and temperature issues related to the lab's orbit. The window reopens Dec. 30, but NASA managers do not want to conduct a launch campaign during the end-of-year rollover because of countdown software issues.
Given the subtle nature of the problems with the engine cutoff - ECO - sensors at the base of Atlantis' external tank, managers concluded there was not enough time to attempt repairs before the current launch window expires. Link