Today’s launch of NASA’s space shuttle Discovery has been called off. The launch has been scheduled and rescheduled throughout this week due to various leaks and bad weather.
This time, the leak involved highly flammable hydrogen gas “at the Ground Umbilical Center Plate (GUCP) that attaches to the external tank,” according to NASA.
The launch has been delayed until at least Monday, which NASA has said is the last possible day in the current launch window. After that, the angle of the sun on the International Space Station (ISS) will be to great, not allowing it’s solar panels to generate enough power for both the station and the shuttle, and not allowing the shuttle to dispel enough heat, to complete it’s planned 11 day mission. The next launch window opens in early December.
Meanwhile, many traveler’s from around the world have to make a decision on whether they should stay or head back home. Campers, tents and cars have lined the roads around Cape Canaveral all week long. Some are leaving, while others arrive, hoping to catch the final launch of Discovery.
NASA is hoping for two more launches after this one, before the entire shuttle program is retired. Only one has been funded by congress so far.