The Boeing/Lockheed Martin United Space Alliance company that operates the Space Shuttle for NASA has ordered a more thorough inspection of the craft in the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center before its roll out to the launch pad. The move follows an investigation into how a 100mm (4in) metal pin was left on a fuel line between the external tank and the orbiter prior to its launch on mission STS 92 last month.

The pin, which was part of a VAB assembly rig, was discovered during a final examination of the launch pad by a team using binoculars. The pin could have struck the external tank during lift-off.

Before a Shuttle leaves the VAB, there will now be a close inspection of the whole stack. The next launch is set for 30 November.

Source: Flight International