Strike 3: Technical Problems Keeps Atlas grounded : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

May 17, 2000 - 08:19 PM

Strike 3: Technical Problems Keep New Rocket Grounded The Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A rash of last-minute technical problems prevented Lockheed Martin Corp.'s new rocket from lifting off Wednesday. It was the third delay in three days for the Atlas III, the first U.S. rocket to be equipped with a Russian engine. Monday's try was thwarted by broken radar, Tuesday's by high wind.

The problems mounted as the countdown clocks ticked down to the final minutes Wednesday: a stuck valve, balky fuel-tank sensors, suspect temperature readings for liquid oxygen. Then, at the 29-second mark, trouble with an electronic unit on the rocket halted the countdown for good.

Lockheed Martin must now give way to NASA and space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled to lift off Friday on a mission to repair the international space station. The company put off announcing a new launch date.

The Atlas III holds a European communication satellite.

-- Martin Thompson (, May 17, 2000

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