Washington (AFP) May 9, 2011
NASA said Monday it expects repairs to be done in time for the space shuttle Endeavour to launch as planned on May 16, after a trio of delays due to technical problems in a fuel heating line.
The blastoff will mark the second-to-last mission to the International Space Station by a US shuttle before the storied program formally ends later this year with the mission of Atlantis, the final space shuttle to retire.
The US space agency confirmed Endeavour's launch time of May 16 at 8:56 am (1256 GMT), set last week after the initial launch attempt was scrubbed hours before liftoff on April 29.
"We've got extremely high confidence... there should be no threats to the 16th launch date," said NASA shuttle program launch integration manager Mike Moses.
However, the delay has pushed back the final launch of the 30-year-old space shuttle program to an undetermined date.
"We are not going to be able to tell you a launch date for 135," Moses said, referring to STS-135, the mission of the space shuttle Atlantis, which was set for June 28.
"I'm really sorry but we cannot estimate that," Moses continued, adding that NASA was considering mid-July but could offer no further confirmation until schedules could be arranged as NASA grapples with the layoffs of thousands of workers.
"We are being affected by our work force reductions," he said.
He said rumors that NASA was considering a July 4 launch were unfounded, and that NASA was never targeting the US national holiday of Independence Day as a potential liftoff day.
The problem that delayed Endeavour was traced to a short in the heater circuit associated with Endeavour's hydraulic system, NASA said.
"Technicians determined the most likely failure was inside a switchbox in the shuttle's aft compartment and associated electrical wiring connecting the switchbox to the heaters," NASA said.
The heaters keep fuel from freezing while in orbit.
NASA also extended the Endeavour mission by two days, making it a 16-day journey.
The crew of six astronauts, including Italian Roberto Vittori of the European Space Agency, are set to arrive at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, NASA said.
Shuttle commander Mark Kelly's wife, Arizona lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords, is also expected to return to Florida to watch the liftoff.
She was granted leave by her doctors in Houston, where she is undergoing rehabilitation after being shot in the head in January, to watch the April attempt.
Endeavour will carry a $2-billion, seven-ton particle physics detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, which will be left at the space station to scour the universe for dark matter and antimatter.
The US space shuttle program is set to formally end after the Atlantis mission, leaving Russia's space capsules as the sole method of transit for astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
As many as 750,000 people descended on Florida to witness the Endeavour launch on a sunny Friday in late April, and shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach said it is possible that turnout could be smaller this time.
"Some people won't come back. Monday morning at 9 am is not as attractive as Friday afternoon," Leinbach said.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Shuttle at NASA
Watch NASA TV via Space.TV
Space Shuttle News at Space-Travel.Com
Endeavour shuttle launch delayed again: NASA
Washington (AFP) May 6, 2011
The launch of the US space shuttle Endeavour has been delayed for a third time, until at least May 16, as engineers try to fix an electrical problem, NASA announced Friday. "NASA managers met Friday afternoon and determined space shuttle Endeavour will launch no earlier than Monday, May 16 at 8:56 am," the space agency said. Technicians will continue to repair and retest the electric cir ... read more
ST-2's installation on SYLDA marks the start of final payload integration for Ariane 5's next mission|
Arianespace to launch ABS-2 in 2013
GSAT-8 put through its paces
Ariane Ariane 5 enjoys second successful launch for 2011
Mars Express Sees Deep Fractures on Mars
Opportunity Images Small Craters
Exploring Rio Tinto Eurobotically
NASA Orbiter Reveals Big Changes in Mars' Atmosphere
Space Adventures proposes modified Soyuz TMA for Lunar tourists
India Eyeing Collaboration With JPL In 2016 NASA Lunar Mission
BRP To Contribute To Canadian Moon And Mars Exploration Programs
Naveen Jain Co-Founder And Chairman Of Moon Express
Carbon monoxide detected around Pluto
The PI's Perspective: Pinch Me!
Later, Uranus: New Horizons Passes Another Planetary Milestone
Can WISE Find The Hypothetical Tyche In Distant Oort Cloud
Flipping Hot Jupiters
What a scorcher: 'Hot Jupiter' puzzle explained
An Earth as Dense as Lead
Astronomers unveil portrait of 'super-exotic super-Earth'
UMaine Students Test Wireless Sensors on Rocket
Next-generation US space racers outline plans
Russia To Develop New Space Rocket By 2015
Russia may launch light Soyuz carrier rocket by 2012
Top Chinese scientists honored with naming of minor planets
China sees smooth preparation for launch of unmanned module
China to attempt first space rendezvous
Countdown begins for Chineses space station program
Dawn - first visual contact with Vesta
Engineering Tests Leading The Way For NASA's Next Neemo Mission
Large asteroid to pass close by Earth
Dawn Reaches Milestone Approaching Asteroid Vesta
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|