Seventh time lucky 239

pressure oxidiser turbopump discharge ducts to determine that they were of the correct thickness. Also during the delay period, one of Columbia's five flight deck computers failed and had to be replaced and retested. The 15 October launch target, however, had already come under threat from the weather: it was scrubbed at T — 5 minutes due to low clouds and rain.

The next launch attempt could not now occur until at least 19 October, because the Eastern Test Range's tracking resources were already supporting another booking: a satellite-carrying Atlas rocket from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Atlas was originally scheduled for 17 October, but was postponed a day because of bad weather, and this in turn pushed Columbia back to the 20th. Even on this seventh attempt, the weather looked grim, prompting KSC spokesman Bruce Buckingham to tell journalists ''All you can do is press on and hope for the best.''

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