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NASA delays shuttle flight a fourth time

NASA delayed its first space shuttle launch of the year for a fourth time on Friday after failing to resolve concerns about a potential problem with fuel pressurization valves.

Shuttle Discovery had been scheduled to lift off this Friday for a 14-day flight to outfit the International Space Station with a final set of solar wing panels. The flight was not immediately rescheduled.

The issue that has delayed the mission involves three small valves in the shuttle's rear engine compartment that are needed to keep the external fuel tank properly pressurized during the nine-minute climb into orbit. During the last shuttle mission in November a tiny piece of one valve cracked.


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