CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Dec. 9 (UPI) -- Faulty sensor readings have grounded Atlantis until at least Jan. 2, NASA said Sunday after grounding the space shuttle for the second time in a week.
Launches were scrubbed Thursday and Sunday after faulty readings from sensors designed to shut down the shuttle's main engines if fuel runs low unexpectedly.
NASA engineers now need to drain liquid hydrogen fuel from an external tank, a procedure unlikely to be completed before optimal gravitational and atmospheric conditions, known as the "launch window," close Thursday, said NASA spokesman George Diller.
Wayne Hale, the shuttle program manager, said the sensors must perform flawlessly before the shuttle can be launched, which means the shuttle will be grounded until the new calendar year, CNN reported.
Atlantis' payload contains a laboratory module destined for the International Space Station.