NASA Fuels Shuttle Atlantis in Last-Launch Test

By: AP
By: AP

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA is fueling space shuttle
Atlantis. But it's only a test.

The last launch of the shuttle program isn't until July 8. But
shuttle managers want to make sure that repairs to the external
fuel tank are good and that no cracks pop up in any support
brackets.

Ground controllers began pumping a half-million gallons of super
cold fuel into Atlantis' tank Wednesday. The three-hour operation
was delayed several hours by thunderstorms that pounded Cape
Canaveral on Tuesday. Three lightning strikes were reported near
the pad. Preliminary checks show nothing was damaged, although a
power circuit went offline.

Last November, fuel tank cracks kept shuttle Discovery grounded
for four months for repairs. The same kind of patches were used for
Atlantis.


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