Water line breaks; space center closed; shuttle rollover delayed pending repairs

An overnight break in a 24-inch water line forced NASA to close the Kennedy Space Center Wednesday, delaying the shuttle Discovery's rollover to the Vehicle Assembly Building for work to ready the ship for launch Nov. 1 on a space station resupply mission.

A ruptured 24-inch water line near the shuttle crawlerway
just east of the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Photo: NASA TV)

A damaged water line, after excavation and pumping.
(Photo: NASA TV)

An apparent crack in the water line is visible during repair
inspections. (Photo: NASA TV)

The break occurred around 11 p.m. Tuesday, but engineers at the space center and with the Cocoa, Fla., water department did not locate it until early today. Pending repairs, potable water was not available and emergency showers and fire extinguisher systems were out of action or without backup, forcing a delay in Discovery's move from its processing hangar to the VAB for attachment to an external tank and solid-fuel boosters.

Rollout to pad 39A had been targeted for Sept. 21, but the move may be delayed due to the slip in Discovery's move to the VAB. But several days of contingency time are available and as of this writing, NASA managers do not anticipate any impact on the shuttle's planned Nov. 1 launch date.