As Valve Analysis Moves On, Launch Team Resets

The mission management team opted to give engineers more time to refine their analysis of a fill-and-drain valve inside Discovery rather than push quickly into a new launch cycle, NASA pre-launch mission management team chairman Mike Moses said."We gave the team a day to go and keep working on it," he said.

The decision moved Discovery's liftoff to Friday at 11:59 p.m. EDT to begin the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station.

Engineers are comfortable that the 8-inch diameter valve will work just fine, but the extra time will be used to polish that conclusion and determine a series of possible steps in case another trouble comes up during a future countdown.

STS-128 Launch Director Pete Nickolenko said preparations are already moving ahead toward Friday night's launch, including moving the rotating service structure around Discovery so technicians can replace the Tyvek covers protecting the nose thrusters of the shuttle.

"In essence, we're ready to go," Nickolenko said.