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Shuttle worker falls to his death

A space shuttle worker has fallen to his death at the Florida launch pad, the first fatality there in decades, Nasa officials said.

Medics rushed to the pad but were unable to revive him. He was identified as James Vanover, an engineer for United Space Alliance, a Nasa contractor. Neither the company nor Nasa released any details, including where he was working on the pad when the accident occurred.

The chief executive officer of United Space Alliance, Virginia Barnes, said the company was providing full support to the accident investigation.

"Until that investigation is complete, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment on the details," she said in a statement.

Nasa spokesman Allard Beutel said work on space shuttle Endeavour was suspended for the day. The focus, for now, is on offering grief counselling to the workforce, he said.

Endeavour is due to blast off April 19 on its final flight. The shuttle arrived at the pad last week.

Officials at Kennedy Space Centre believe it is the first launch pad fatality since 1981, just before the first shuttle flight.


From Belfast Telegraph