Written by Felix Minderbinder
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Topics: Space, NASA

Tuesday, 19 July 2005

image for Gremlins Plague Space Shuttle Discovery
A Gremlin in the Discovery space shuttle

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA has once again delayed its long-awaited launch of the space shuttle Discovery until at least next week, now stating that Gremlins are causing the problems. The space agency is no closer to finding the Gremlins which recently damaged heat tiles and caused a fuel gauge to fail during a recent launch countdown.

"We have been working for over two years to return the shuttle to flight, and now we've got Gremlins," Deputy Shuttle Program Manager Dwayne Dale said Monday. "A few days more is what we need to track down those evil creatures. When it's all said and done, a few days is nothing to make sure we're flying safely, and it's not a problem in the bigger scheme of things."

Yet NASA now believes that Gremlins had brought down the shuttle Columbia by breaking off a section of fuel-tank foam insulation that smashed into the left wing at liftoff and damaged the heat tiles.

Similarly, Gremlins are also now believed to have harmed the O-rings that led to the Challenger disaster of 1986. Cuddly Gremlins become evil, malicious ones capable of massive destruction when exposed to water.

NASA has hired exterminators to search for the Gremlins and eliminate them, and has been studying the Gremlin movies to learn more about the mysterious creature's habits.

One of four hydrogen fuel gauges in Discovery's external fuel tank failed during a prelaunch test on Wednesday, forcing NASA to delay the first space shuttle mission since Columbia's catastrophe in 2003. The postponement came just two hours before the scheduled liftoff when astronauts were already on board.

"We still don't know how the hell the Gremlins got into the fuel tank, but they sure did," admitted Dale.

Since then, technicians have crawled around inside Discovery's engine compartment chasing the Gremlins, and have checked for further evidence of their mayhem by conducting a battery of tests.

"Gremlins were known in World War II as causing many aircraft malfunctions," added Dale. "We now think that they brought down the Concorde SST, a number of spacecraft, as well as military, freight and passenger aircraft. They are also causing havoc in our aircraft and vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. We can't fool around with these creatures, and until we're sure we've eliminated them, the space shuttle simply cannot fly."

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