A technician who plugged an electrical cable into the wrong slot is being blamed by NASA for a flash electrical fire that damaged the $216 million Magellan probe being readied for a mission to Venus.
The space agency reported Tuesday the damage was not serious and would take five to seven days to repair. Officials said there would be no impact on Magellan's launch aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, scheduled for April. Smoke and a 2-to-3-inch flame spurted from a spacecraft battery when a worker tried to insert a cable connector into the wrong receptacle Monday night, Vince Wirth, a project spokesman, told a news conference Tuesday."Technicians on the scene quickly put out the fire within a minute with a halon fire extinguisher," Wirth said. "But by then the damage was done."