CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. NASA has decided to press on with plans to launch the space shuttle Discovery on its final mission Thursday after evaluating a last-minute electrical glitch on the spacecraft, but a dismal weather forecast looms ahead.
Teams here at NASA's Kennedy Space Center reviewed the data from the anomaly overnight and concluded that the problem was likely the result of residual contamination on a circuit breaker connection, rather than a problem with the engine controller itself.
Engineers "scrubbed" the connectors by plugging them in and out, which cleans the metallic surfaces of the residue. Mission managers are confident the issue has now been resolved.
"We talked overnight, the team brought us a very nice, cohesive flow through the data," Mike Moses, NASA's shuttle integration manager, said in a news briefing. "We had a unanimous poll out of the [mission management team], and everyone was very comfortable with the story that came together today."
Discovery is slated to blast off from a seaside launch pad at Kennedy Space Center at 3:29 p.m. EDT (1929 GMT) tomorrow (Nov. 4). The decision came after an hours-long discussion by top mission managers to clear Discovery of any concerns related to an electrical glitch in a backup main engine computer controller.
Weather, however, still poses a dire threat for Discovery's launch chances. Current forecasts show an 80 percent chance that foul weather could cause yet another delay, though conditions improve for later attempts on Friday.
Managers will reconvene early tomorrow morning before tanking to assess the weather situation.