Friday, April 29, 2011

Space Shuttle Endeavour's Launch Delayed at Least 72 Hours.

An issue with Endeavour's Auxiliary Power Unit 1 heaters forced the postponement of launch. The APU system provides power to the hydraulic system for the shuttle, the heater's prevent the system from freezing in orbit. The earliest possible launch time would be Monday, May 2 at 2:33 p.m. EDT, but an actual launch time appears tenuous.

NASA launch director Mike Leinbach confirmed in an interview on NASA TV that it would take at least 72 hours for engineers to turn things around. “Today the orbiter is not ready to fly and we always say in this business we will not fly until we are ready and unfortunately we just aren’t ready,” Leinbach said.

NASA TV launch commentator George Diller explains, “There’s not a way to do the kind of troubleshooting we need to do and still be able to stay in a count configuration. So we will be scrubbing for today.”

The external fuel tank (the big orange thing) had just finished being filled when the problem was identified, and the astronauts suited up and half way to the launch pad. The astronauts turned around and headed back to the Kennedy Space Center. The external fuel tank must now be emptied before troubleshooting can begin.

The delay is a disappointment for the hundreds of thousands who came to Florida to witness Endeavour's final flight and second to last of the space shuttles. This includes STS-134 commander Mark Kelly’s wife, Gabrielle Giffords, and President Obama and his family. The President still plans to travel to Cape Canaveral and tour the facilities there.

The launch team will meet soon to put together a plan for a new target launch based on the work that has to be performed. Expect an update with the new launch time sometime soon. Below is the video of Leinbach explaining the scrub:


25 comments:

1HipHopBlog said...

72 hours is decent amount of time, something serious happen?

Malkavian said...

Damn tough break but safety and preparation goes a long way

Buckaroopopcorn said...

Good, they can blow up; better safe than sorry.

Melanie said...

I am getting up early Sunday morning...just in case they can launch!! I loved how CNN was more concerned with Seth Green being there with Twitter and missing it - he was more concerned with the safety of the crew!

Jay said...

let them take as much time as they need to get everything right.

Kaneda said...

I gotta see it, those launches are always pretty huge.

The Wired said...

So sad to see all these shuttles final days.

THUNDERCAT said...

I wish I could see a launch in person! Sad thing is I living in Houston and never seen one! Nasa space center is like a hop skip and jump away!

Zombie said...

Better to be safe than sorry

Astronomy Pirate said...

Thundercat, I do have to say that I felt Houston got robbed of getting a shuttle. They would have placed one there for all the NASA heritage in the area. I guess they picked New York over you guys though because of the tourist attraction.

philmin9 said...

It's hard to believe the shuttle program is almost done.

Necroticism said...

Buuuuuuuu! well, it's for the best.

Solsby Kid said...

Yep, better safe than sorry!

Toto said...

nice post!

Rorschach Redemption said...

Better to be a delay than a disaster.

G said...

I never got the whole launch window concept - is this just due to the weather?

Astronomy Pirate said...

It has a little to do with weather, but also where the target is. Things in space tend to move around, and the best time to launch to them is when they are close or easy to get to with the least amount of fuel. Missions to Mars for example have about a yearly window when its closest, but every 2 years there is an even better window when Mars is closest to the Sun.

Lealeepo said...

I would be really pissed of too if I were there. But i think it's pretty understandable. The security of humans is more worth than this.

Ed said...

"Why don't you just fix your little problem and light this candle?" -- Alan Shepard

Poker Ed said...

we're nearly there now

The Game Store Guy said...

Well, better a delay than the death of more Astronauts.

Alphabeta said...

Ooh - like the new design.
Video has been removed. : /

Zach said...

Thats suck but I agree about being safe than sorry

Astronomy Pirate said...

Sucks that the video was removed, not much I can do about that.

Rob said...

Well its one of the last launches, I'd want it to go off without a hitch too ya? Best to be safe.

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