NASA managers have picked the first of July to launch the first space shuttle in almost a year, despite recommendations against a liftoff attempt by the agency's chief engineer and safety offices.
The decision to launch Discovery on a trip to the international space station was made after two days of closed meetings by NASA's top managers and engineers at the Kennedy Space Center. The flight would be only the second shuttle mission since the Columbia disaster in 2003.
During a poll of top managers, representatives from NASA's Office of Safety and Mission Assurance and the Office of the Chief Engineer recommended against flying until further design changes are made to the external fuel tank. Despite their recommendations, the dissenting managers ultimately didn't object to making a launch attempt, NASA officials said.