12:50 GMT +321 January 2019
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    Discovery's extended stay on orbit is not safety related - NASA expert

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    MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - The possibility of a 24-hour delay in space shuttle's return to Earth has nothing to do with its safety issues, a NASA expert said Sunday. He said that space shuttle missions have been delayed many times in the past. It is common practice because it allows astronauts to accomplish more tasks on orbit.

    Plans are changed, new tasks are set - it is absolutely normal, he added.

    The expert also said he was surprised to hear so many negative commentaries about the current Discovery mission made by the media. He added that the mission should not cause concerns in terms of safe return of astronauts to Earth because they discovered only 25 damaged tiles in the heat shield, and normally there are 145-150.

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