NASA Delays Atlantis Launch Until January

Fuel sensor fails to reset a second time
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 9, 2007 9:06 AM CST
A NASA worker waits to get onto pad 39A to continue work on space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla. Thursday Dec. 6, 2007. NASA managers postponed the launch today until January. (AP...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – After a controversial call to go ahead with the launch today of the problem-plagued Atlantis, NASA officials have now decided to delay the mission until at least January, Reuters reports. The decision was made when one of the two fuel sensors that failed before the abortive launch Thursday failed again today.

"We are off until no earlier than January 2," said a NASA spokesman. “We’re going to stand down for a couple of weeks and try to figure out this problem.” The sensors shut off the main engines when they sense the liquid nitrogen tanks are empty; a false shutoff before Atlantis reached orbit could result in a risky emergency landing or a catastrophic explosion.