KENNEDY SPACE CENTER - It is still too early to tell what is repsonsible for the leak of gaseous hydrogen from the ground umbilical plate (GUCP), NASA mission management said today. The leak had "a different signature, although we are not quite sure what that means," said Pete Nickolenko, STS-127 launch manager. At points during the tanking operation, gas levels at the GUCP were between 40,000 and 50,000 parts per million, or "above our comfort zone," he said.
Between Saturday and today, NASA technicians swapped out all the seals and hardware of the quick disconnect and added shims to the GUCP. Yet, these measures did not prevent the leak from occurring. It is still too early for engineers to approach the site.
When weather threatened the launch of STS-127 last night, NASA determined that the launch of the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) would go ahead today as planned if the shuttle was scrubbed before midnight. Although Endeavour's launch was scrubbed at 1:55 a.m., LeRoy Cain, shuttle program deputy manager, said LRO will aim to launch this afternoon.
The earliest STS-127 can now launch is July 11. The slip in schedule should not affect the launch of Discovery in August nor any future shuttle launch, Cain said.