The already delayed date of January 10 on which NASA had planned its next attempt to launch the Atlantis shuttle will again be pushed back possibly days though probably weeks. This delay is for the same reason as the first, problems with electrical connectors in the spaceship’s external fuel tank. These failures of shuttle fuel gauges are part of a critical safety system and the shuttle cannot launch if they are in jeopardy. NASA executives say that saftey is very much ahead of the schedule and they will make sure that everything is in top shape before the launch. At this point, it appears all the work can be done while Atlantis is on the launch pad.
The space agency has been struggling with sporadic fuel gauge problems for two years, ever since flights resumed following the 2003 Columbia tragedy. The gauges prevent the shuttle’s main engines from running on an empty tank, which could be catastrophic. As you probably know the shuttle's estimated date for retiring is 2010 and it is a good thing in my opinion that they are being retired, even though they were great machines and innovations in their day they a falling apart now. Hopefully Atlantis will get off the ground safely and the shuttles will last at least until 2010. Only time will tell.