A gaseous hydrogen leak on the space shuttle Endeavour forced NASA to cancel Saturday’s planned launch, the space agency said.
NASA halted fueling of the shuttle after detecting the leak on a vent line that leads from the ground umbilical carrier plate to the launch pad and to the “flare stack” where vented hydrogen is burned off, the space agency said. The leak is similar to the one that happened during the first launch attempt of space shuttle Discovery in March, NASA said. Shuttle managers will assess the leak and meet Saturday morning to discuss what steps to take next, including setting a new launch date, NASA said. Endeavour, carrying seven astronauts and a key component for Japan’s Kibo science laboratory, is scheduled for a mission to the International Space Station. View behind-the-scenes images of Endeavour »
With Endeavour trip, NASA to unite ‘lucky 13’
Five spacewalks are planned for the crew after the shuttle docks with the station for a planned 16-day mission. View an interactive of what mission will do in space »
The Kibo science lab, also called the Japanese Experiment Module, is Japan’s first human space facility, more than 20 years in the making. The bus-sized, 32,000-pound module will be the largest lab at the space station. Kibo means “hope” in Japanese.