Stubborn Shuttle Discovery Refuses to Launch on Final Mission

A gorgeous but stubborn Discovery still on the launchpad. Credit: Alan Walters ( for Universe Today.

**UPDATE: The launch has now been delayed until Nov. 30, as a crack was found in the foam on Discovery’s external tank after the fuel was offloaded this morning. Engineers posting on Twitter said the hydrogen leak this morning may have been a lucky break, as the crack had ice underneath and may have easily come off during launch. The crack was not seen previously.**

It seems as through space shuttle Discovery keeps coming up with excuses to delay the launch of her final mission to space, and the launch pad facilities and weather are conspiring along with her. Originally scheduled to launch on Nov. 1, this latest delay comes from a hydrogen leak in a vent arm attached to the shuttle’s external tank. The work required will push back any further launch attempt until at least Monday, Nov. 8. That is the last day available in the current launch window, and if it doesn’t launch then the window closes until Nov. 30, due to unfavorable sun angles for when the shuttle would be docked to ISS.

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