Atlantis' November Launch May Slip Due to Knob Stuck in Window Pane

Atlantis' November Launch May Slip Due to Knob Stuck in Window Pane

Bill Harwood of CBS’ Space Place reports that space shuttle Atlantis’ November launch date may slip due to an unusual problem — a knob from a work light attachment apparently floated away from the last Atlantis crew (the Hubble servicing mission) while on orbit and is now lodged between a cockpit window pane and part of the shuttle’s control panel.

The knob must be removed to ascertain whether the window pane is damaged. Months may be required if the pane needs to be replaced, according to the report.

NASA has a full schedule of 8 shuttle flights coming up with the goal of completing all by September 30, 2010, the end of Fiscal Year 2010 and currently the end of funding for the shuttle program. The Obama Administration has stated that it is committed to completing all of the remaining flights regardless of whether they can be completed on the current schedule. Where the money will come from for flights in FY2011 is unclear, but NASA officials have assured Congress that safety remains the number one priority for the shuttle program.

According to NASA’s website, the 8 remaining shuttle missions are currently scheduled as follows:

Endeavour July 11, 2009
Discovery Aug. 18, 2009
Atlantis Nov. 12, 2009
Endeavour Feb. 4, 2010
Discovery Mar. 18, 2010
Atlantis May 14, 2010
Endeavour July 29, 2010

Sept. 16, 2010

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