Space shuttle Atlantis cleared for lift-off

2019-03-01 05:17:00

By New Scientist Space and Reuters (Image: NASA) NASA managers on Wednesday cleared the shuttle Atlantis for launch on 7 February to deliver Europe’s first permanent space laboratory to the International Space Station. The only issue pending is a bent coolant hose discovered in the shuttle on Tuesday. But programme manager Wayne Hale said Atlantis should be able to fly as is. Engineers are studying a similarly bent pipe removed from the shuttle Discovery to determine if there are any safety concerns. The pipe is part of the cooling system used by the shuttle in orbit. “If it’s not safe to fly, we won’t fly,” Hale told reporters at a news conference. Lift-off is tentatively set for 1445 EST (1945 GMT) on 7 February from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US. Earlier on Wednesday, two US astronauts aboard the space station replaced a broken motor on one of its solar wings during a seven-hour spacewalk, clearing the way for more modules to be added to the outpost. The Space Shuttle – Learn more in our continuously updated special report. More on these topics: