Nasa has delayed the launch of Europe's Columbus module to the International Space Station
It is expected to launch in the early days of December. The delay of the launch is due to damage sustained by the Atlantis Shuttle in a hail storm in February.
Atlantis was to carry the station's next set of solar wing panels to the ISS in March but a freak hail storm dropped ice chunks as big as golf balls on the shuttle, damaging the ship's fuel tank.
It was expected to be repaired faster but the damage to the tank was more. They are more careful about shuttle tank safety because seven astronauts were lost in Columbia in 2003 as a result of a debris strike from tank foam insulation.
The repair work is going on in Florida. Engineers have identified 2,664 dings, gouges and other damage sites that need to be fixed before the shuttle can fly. They have also identified heavy damage for which they have to apply a new layer of foam.
Bill Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator for spaceflight, said he expects the shuttle programme to digest the delays within a year or so and that there will still be enough time to complete the space station assembly before the shuttles are retired in 2010.
Finally NASA has to prove that the repaired areas will be safe to fly.