NASA has delayed by a week the earliest possible launch date for the first space shuttle mission since the 2003 Columbia disaster, to allow more time to review safety assessments and design changes, program managers said on Wednesday. The U.S. space agency had been planning to launch the shuttle Discovery on May 15, the first date in a launch window that runs to June 3.
NASA has now marked May 22 as its new target date but additional delays are possible, shuttle manager Bill Parsons and deputy manager Wayne Hale told reporters in a teleconference. "We are aiming for our launch date based on our best knowledge," Hale said. "But we are not schedule-driven and we will not launch until we are ready to fly." Program managers and engineers completed a two-day design review on Wednesday, certifying that 19 of 20 major modifications to the shuttle were ready for flight, Parsons said.
News source: Reuters