Space Shuttle Discovery Set For Liftoff Next Week

CAPE CANAVERAL (CBS4) – The last mission for the Space Shuttle Discovery now has a start date.

NASA announced Friday that the shuttle’s final liftoff is set for Thursday afternoon. The date was voted on unanimously at a meeting of senior managers.

Discovery has been plagued by problems, grounding the shuttle since November. Cracks in the external fuel tank leaking hydrogen gas were found just prior to a launch attempt. It has taken three months for scientists to understand why the tank was cracking and come up with a solution to fix it.

The mission will take six astronauts and a humanoid robot, along with a full load of supplies, to the International Space Station. One of the human crew members will stay behind on the ISS to replace an astronaut who was injured last month in a bicycle crash.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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