Cape Canaveral, Florida - Work is continuing to prepare for the launch of space shuttle Atlantis, on mission STS 122, now scheduled for 7 Feb.
Shuttle programme managers delay the original launch, planned for 6 Dec, following a failure in a fuel-sensor system while Atlantis' external fuel tank was being filled.
The fault has now been repaired by replacing the external connector on Atlantis' external tank.
Now workers at the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Kennedy Space Center continue to apply new polyurethane foam insulation to that portion of the tank.
A 17 Jan NASA announcement said all work associated with replacing the connector and insulation is expected to be finished on 24 Jan. Standard launch preparations are currently under way to ready the spacecraft for flight.
Part of the mission will involve its crew of NASA and European Space Agency astronauts in installing the European-built Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station. This lab is stowed inside Atlantis' payload bay. The space-based lab will be used for further research and experiments into the space and weightless environment, NASA said.
PIC: A worker trims PU foam insulation before it is installed on Atlantis' external tank (NASA/Kim Shiflett)