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Shuttle Discovery waits to be launched into orbit  (Source: AFP)
LHC will be turned on again in September; NASA has been forced to delay shuttle Discovery's launch again; and the NOAA launched another satellite into orbit last week

Scientists hope the Large Hadron Collider could be turned on again this September, around one year after scientists were forced to shut it down.  It was originally expected to be fixed by November, but was delayed until June, and is now scheduled to be turned back on this fall.

"The new schedule foresees first beams in the LHC at the end of September this year, with collisions following in late October," said the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern).

There will be a "short technical stop" over the Christmas holidays, and then scientists plan to have the LHC run through the winter.  LHC is the world's largest atom smasher, and great things are expected once it can be used to its full potential.

NASA's first shuttle launch of 2009 will have to wait a little while longer as the U.S. space agency delays the launch of space shuttle Discovery from February 19 to sometime before February 22.  NASA originally wanted to launch the shuttle on February 12, but that was deemed impossible due to troublesome valves responsible for channeling hydrogen from the fuel tank to the shuttle's engines.

"Because of an ongoing review of the space shuttle's flow control valves, NASA managers are rescheduling meetings next week to assess the launch readiness of shuttle Discovery's STS-119 mission to the International Space Station," NASA said in a statement.

The U.S. space agency is taking a closer look at the valves because one of shuttle Endeavour's valves was damaged during the shuttle's 16-day mission late last year.

The NOAA-N Prime satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta 2 rocket on early Friday morning.  Originally scheduled to take place last Wednesday, launch pad technical issues forced a delay of two days so flight engineers could help resolve problems.  The satellite was constructed by Lockheed Martin and is a $564 million USD mission.

The NOAA-N is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s last polar-orbiting satellite to launch since 1960.  The NOAA will use all data collected by the satellite to help better predict long-range weather forecasts, the organization said in a statement.





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