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The launch of space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station
The launch of space shuttle Discovery to the International Space Station will not be possible before Sunday, as work continues to solve a fuel leak problem, NASA said on Thursday.

NASA managers postponed Wednesday's planned liftoff due to a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank. The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from the launch pad.

The exact launch date depends on the work necessary to repair the problem. Managers will meet later on Thursday to further assess the troubleshooting plan, NASA said.

Discovery's STS-119 flight is delivering the space station's fourth and final set of solar array wings. The arrays will provide the electricity to fully power science experiments and support the station's expanded crew of six in May.

The 14-day mission will feature four spacewalks to help install the S6 truss segment to the starboard, or right, side of the station and the deployment of its solar arrays. The flight also will replace a failed unit for a system that converts urine to potable water.

Commander Lee Archambault is joined on the STS-119 flight by pilot Tony Antonelli and mission specialists Joseph Acaba, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, John Phillips and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Wakata will replace space station crew member Sandra Magnus, who has been aboard the station for more than four months. He will return to Earth during the next station shuttle mission, STS-127, scheduled for June 2009.


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