Shuttle Launch Pushed Back To January

Shuttle Atlantis will not launch before the first week of January

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) -- NASA has to be hoping for better luck in the new year.

After scrubbing two shuttle launch attempts in four days because of balky fuel gauges, NASA managers have now decided to put off any further tries until January.

A NASA spokesman says the agency has decided "to stand down for a couple of weeks and try to figure out this problem." The current launch window closes after the end of the coming week.

The problem with the liquid hydrogen sensors is frustrating because it's intermittent. It's been delaying some shuttle missions for more than two years.

The extended delay will give space agency engineers time to get inside the external fuel tank of Atlantis, or roll the entire assembly back to the hangar for more detailed work, if necessary.

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