The U.S. space agency NASA says it will delay next week's scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery to run tests on a newly installed set of fuel valves.
The valves control the flow of hydrogen fuel from the shuttle engines to the external fuel tank. The new valves were installed on Discovery after a small piece broke off a valve during the November launch of space shuttle Endeavour.
NASA officials say it is postponing the flight until at least February 19 to determine if the shuttle could sustain serious damage if one of the valves broke during launch.
Discovery and its seven-member crew are to deliver the last set of solar wings to the International Space Station, as well as a new member for the orbital outpost's permanent crew.
NASA engineers are also analyzing the impact of excessive vibrations during a brief engine firing on the International Space Station last month. The vibrations resulted from faulty commands sent up to the ISS by Russian flight controllers. The ISS engines were fired to raise the space station's orbit.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.