KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — A 2,500-pound metal bucket used to transport workers smashed into the top of the space shuttle Discovery on Friday, breaking a technician's leg and causing damage that forced a fifth delay of Sen. Jake Garn's trip into space, National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said.
The space agency said it was too early to assess the extent of damage. Spokesman Charles Redmond said he expects the flight, which had been scheduled to begin March 28 or 29, to be delayed until April.
Officials said they did not know what caused the heavy bucket, which is large enough to hold two persons, to fall. However, experts were inspecting its hydraulic hoist. A board of specialists began an investigation, which NASA spokesman Dick Young said could take several days.
The accident occurred at about 8 a.m. in a hangar where Discovery was being prepared to be moved later Friday into an assembly building to be fitted with its two booster rockets and external fuel tank. That move was scrubbed indefinitely until damage is repaired.