Endeavour Launch Scrubbed, Reset for Monday

NASA PR — Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach stated that Endeavour’s launch will be no earlier than Monday at 2:33 p.m. EDT. Engineers need that time to troubleshoot an issue that resulted in today’s launch scrub.

During today’s countdown, engineers detected a failure in one of two heater circuits associated with Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) 1. Heaters are required to keep the APUs’ hydrazine from freezing on orbit. Attempts to activate the heater were not successful and engineers now believe the problem might be associated with a Load Control Assembly, which is a switchbox, located in the aft end of Endeavour, or an electrical short in the wires leading into or out of the switchbox.

Royal Shindig Gets Some Competition

Look out, England! Your royal wedding has some competition in the publicity department from American technology and star power.

President Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, will be attending the April 29 launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on April 29. They will join U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from an assassination attempt in January, to watch Giffords’ husband, Mike Kelly, pilot the venerable space shuttle on its final mission. Dozens of Congressmen and VIPs are expected for the shuttle program’s penultimate mission.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave — or just don’t give a frak about the royals who continue to preside over America’s former imperial overlord — you’re well aware that this is the same date as the wedding of handsome Prince What-his-name? and his lovely commoner bride, Who’s-a What’s-It?

The common date is co-incidental, and it could diverge if NASA’s aging and notoriously temperamental shuttle system causes a delay. The launch is set for 3:47 p.m. EDT. Given the time difference between Florida and England, both royalists and republicans on that cloud-shrouded island should be properly blitzed out of their minds from attending celebration and protest parties.

Well, to each his own. As an American whose nation rejected royalty 235 years ago, I’m with the British republicans on this one. But, it’s not my country. Not for me to say.

Space Shuttle Mission Delayed Until April 27

NASA PR — Following discussions among the International Space Station partners on Sunday, NASA has targeted the launch of space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-134 mission for 3:47 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 29. The delay removes a scheduling conflict with a Russian Progress supply vehicle scheduled to launch April 27 and arrive at the station April 29.

NASA managers will hold a Flight Readiness Review on Tuesday, April 19, to assess the team’s readiness to support launch. An official launch date will be selected at the conclusion of the meeting.

Only minor damage to space shuttle Endeavour’s external fuel tank foam was identified during detailed inspections Saturday by technicians and engineers on Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Evaluations indicate there was no damage to the spacecraft. Teams were assessing any possible damage from severe storms that hit Kennedy on Wednesday and Thursday. ‪

Today, workers at the pad will continue closeouts in Endeavour’s aft section and will load hydrazine into the shuttle’s hydraulic power unit.

Engineers Studying Loss of Foam from Shuttle External Tank

Foam damage on STS-127 tank. Credit: NASA TV

Strips of foam peeled away from Endeavour’s fuel tank
CBS News

Post-launch photography of the shuttle Endeavour’s external tank shows multiple areas of bare metal where thin strips of foam insulation peeled away during the climb to space, the result of an as-yet-unknown mechanism. In at least two “events,” debris hit Endeavour’s heat shield tiles during the early stages of flight when the shuttle is most vulnerable to damage. But mission managers said Thursday there is no evidence of any serious problems that would prevent a safe re-entry.


Sixth Time a Charm! Endeavour on its Way to ISS After Picture Perfect Launch



Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew of seven astronauts are in orbit after an on-time launch at 6:03 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Following a smooth countdown with no technical issues and weather that steadily improved throughout the afternoon, the shuttle lifted off from Launch Pad 39A and began its orbital chase of the International Space Station.

“It was a testimony for this entire launch and flight control team,” Launch Director Pete Nickolenko said of the countdown and successful liftoff, which came on the sixth launch attempt after technical issues and weather concerns prevented the first five tries. “It was an outstanding effort, and it made the complex look really easy. It really was a case of persistence.”

Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, also commended the launch effort, but cautioned that the mission to come is “very challenging,” with five spacewalks and robotic activities scheduled. “The teams are fully prepared — they’re ready to go do what they need to go do, and we look forward to the exciting activities as we install the Exposed Facility out on the Kibo module.”

Endeavour Launch Scrubbed Again Due to Weather

NASA scrubbed the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour on Monday evening due to lightning storms in the launch area. Mission managers will be meeting shortly to decide when the reschedule the flight to the International Space Station.

Endeavour Launch a “Go” – Weather Permitting



Teams met this morning and a “GO” was given for tanking of Endeavour’s external tank. Tanking officially began at 9:33 a.m. EDT and liquid hydrogen started flowing into the external tank at 9:43 a.m.

Weather permitting, launch is scheduled for 6:51 p.m. The forecast is 40 percent “go” for liftoff.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Parabolic Arc will provide a live feed later today.

NASA Postpones Shuttle Launch to Sunday



The launch of space shuttle Endeavour was postponed until Sunday evening so engineers could evaluate the spacecraft’s myriad systems following 11 lightning strikes in the Launch Complex 39A area.

None of the strikes hit the shuttle or its external tank and solid rocket boosters, but there were strikes to the lightning mast and water tower. The launch pad is equipped with a lightning protection system of wires that is intended to steer bolts away from the shuttle.


Space Shuttle Launch Scrubbed

NASA scrubbed the Wednesday launch of the space shuttle Endeavour at 1:55 a.m. EDT due to another hydrogen leak. A similar leak lead to the scrubbing of the launch on Saturday.