Crack Found In Foam On Shuttle's Fuel Tank

NASA managers were deciding Monday whether to call off a scheduled Fourth of July space shuttle launch after a 5-inch-long crack was found in the foam of discovery's external fuel tank.

The crack was spotted during an overnight inspection. NASA had scrubbed launch plans Saturday and Sunday because of the weather and had removed the fuel from the tank.

The inspectors found a crack 8 inches deep in the foam on a bracket near the top of the external fuel tank.

On Sunday - for the second day in a row, poor weather forced a postponement of the shuttle Discovery's launch.  Another attempt had been planned for July 4th.

"We've decided to terminate the count today, stand down for 48 hours" and get the shuttle ready for a Tuesday launch attempt, launch director Mike Leinbach told Discovery's astronauts as they waited in their seats on the launch pad.

"Looking out the window, it doesn't look good today, and we think that's a great plan," shuttle commander Steve Lindsey answered.

The delay will give the launch team a chance to replenish supplies aboard the shuttle - and also give the crew a chance to rest up.

The next opportunity to launch Discovery to the international space station is scheduled for at 2:38 p.m. ET Tuesday.  If the shuttle goes up then, it would be the first manned U.S. spaceflight to be launched on Independence Day.