Water main break at space center stalls launch preparations for next-to-last shuttle flight

A water main break at NASA's spaceport put launch preparations on temporary hold Wednesday for the next-to-last shuttle flight.

Space shuttle Discovery was supposed to be moved from the hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in preparation for a fall liftoff. The massive building where the fuel tank and booster rockets are attached to a shuttle.

But the water main break forced NASA to close the space center to most personnel Wednesday morning, and Discovery's short trip from one building to another was delayed until Thursday. The center reopened in the afternoon, after the leak in the 24-inch pipe was found and water was restored to most locations.

A lingering concern for Discovery's planned move Thursday was "water falling from the sky," said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. There's a 50-50 chance that rain could hold things up.

Discovery is supposed to blast off Nov. 1 with supplies for the International Space Station. NASA said Wednesday's trouble will not affect the launch date. Endeavour will follow in February to close out 30 years of space shuttle flight.


On the Net:

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html