NASA has delayed its first Space Shuttle launch in 1999 by at least five weeks from 8 April, after discovering potential electrical problems with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory.

The observatory is to be deployed by Space Shuttle STS93 Columbia, the launch of which has already been postponed from last August because of other problems with the telescope.

The STS93 is scheduled for launch in mid-May, making the six-month hiatus in Shuttle flights the longest since 1990. The mission now faces the prospect of further delays, caused by the need to launch the STS96 Discovery mission to the International Space Station on 13 May.

Source: Flight International