After a series of sensor failures that restricted the December launch window for NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-122, mission managers at Kennedy Space Center are putting their hopes toward a Jan. 24 launch date for Space Shuttle Atlantis and the Columbus ISS laboratory module. The new date works around several weeks of testing yet to come on the connector of the engine cut-off sensors in the shuttle’s external liquid hydrogen fuel tank.
The connector that was suspected of stalling December’s launch attempts has been removed from the shuttle launch pad in Kennedy Space Center and is being transferred to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. There it will be subjected to more in-depth testing under simulated launch conditions.
Meanwhile, technicians at Kennedy Space Center will attempt to fashion a replacement connector that could be put in place as early as Jan. 10. Space Shuttle Atlantis will continue to sit at its launch pad facing the stars until a solution can be found.