15 Mar : NASA will break with protocol and try to launch the space shuttle Discovery on Sunday even though it has yet to uncover the cause of a hydrogen leak that delayed its mission earlier in , officials said.
On Saturday, the US space agency re-entered a launch configuration, scheduling the Discovery’s blast-off to the International Space Station (ISS) with a 10-minute launch window.
"No, it’s not usual," launch director Mike Leinbach acknowledged to a press conference when asked whether it was normal to fly without resolving such a problem.
"We like to know the root cause for problems. I am a little surprised that we did not find something more obvious because it was a healthy leak," he said, referring to the leak NASA discovered Wednesday in the filling system for the shuttle’s external fuel tank just hours before liftoff.
Leinbach stressed the safety of the shuttle or its crew was not in question."From a broad safety prospective we are fine … We feel good about it," Leinbach added.
Mike Moses, the head of the mission management team, noted that the leak occurred on the "ground side system," not on the shuttle or the external fuel tank itself.