Roscosmos chief: Discovery shuttle launch to be postponed

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MOSCOW, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - The launch of the U.S. Discovery space shuttle will experience a short delay, said Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos.

"I am sure that the shuttle will fly," Perminov told reporters after a government session.

He said the defect that caused the delay was not a reason for panic.

Mission control center representative Sergei Puzanov said earlier that the launch was delayed after a defect was discovered on one of the four pressure and fuel sensors on the external fuel tank.

Valery Lyndin, the senior spokesman for the mission control outside Moscow, said the launch window for the shuttle would remain open until July 30.

Perminov said the launch would either take place in the next few days or would be postponed until the fall.

"This is very bad for us because we have to draft a plan by the end of the year," he said.

Perminov said that NASA head Michael Griffin has assured him that the United States is not going to act outside of the International Space Station framework.

"We will be unable to implement the program in full on our own, if the United States withdraws from it," Perminov said.

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