Endeavour's Monday launch canceled
Space Shuttle Endeavour will not take off Monday, NASA said.
May 1st, 2011
09:42 AM ET

Endeavour's Monday launch canceled

A plan to launch the space shuttle Endeavour on Monday has been scrubbed, officials said Sunday. Endeavour's final launch was delayed by at least 72 hours Friday because of concerns about the shuttle's heating system. Monday was the earliest possible liftoff date following the delay.

As part of NASA's examination of the problem, officials said, the shuttle's external fuel tank will be drained of its oxygen and hydrogen propellants.

"The engineering team did not understand how this problem occurred and did not feel comfortable proceeding with a launch attempt," NASA spokesman George Diller said on Friday.

The delay postponed what promised to be an emotional moment for the shuttle's commander, Mark Kelly. Kelly's wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, traveled to Florida to watch the shuttle's ascent.

Giffords was nearly killed January 8 when she was shot in the head by a would-be assassin at a public event in Tucson, Arizona. She has been recovering at a Houston rehabilitation hospital. It was not clear whether Giffords' doctors will allow her to remain in Florida for the duration of the delay. Her office said in a statement Friday her travel plans are "undetermined."

"Congresswoman Giffords is disappointed that Endeavour was unable to launch today, but realizes that mission safety must come first. Launch delays are not uncommon with the space shuttle," the statement said. "We are looking forward to the quick rescheduling of this scientifically important mission. The congresswoman was pleased, however, to have been able to meet with President Obama and the first family."

President Barack Obama and the first lady also went to the launch site, and Obama personally visited with Giffords for about 10 minutes, a White House official said. Obama also met the entire Endeavour crew, including Kelly. Kelly was tapped to lead a crew that includes pilot Gregory Johnson; mission specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff and Andrew Feustel; and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. Endeavour has logged more than 103 million miles in space, blasting off 24 times, but its 25th flight will be its last.

As NASA's shuttle program winds down with the last launch scheduled this summer, many in the astronaut corps are wrestling with what to do next. For the foreseeable future, Russian rockets will be the only way for U.S. astronauts to get to space. Fincke spent a total of a year in space on the International Space Station, getting there and back twice on Russian rockets.

But Friday's delayed flight will be his first on the shuttle. Four spacewalks are planned for the mission. The space walkers will retrieve experiments, install new ones, refill tanks and lubricate parts at the International Space Station. In its cargo bay, Endeavour will carry the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

At $1.5 billion, it is the most expensive piece of equipment a space shuttle has ever carried. The spectrometer is designed to capture space particles like anti-matter and dark matter that scientists know very little about but believe exist in the universe. The spectrometer will be mounted outside the International Space Station. If it's successful, it could lead to a better understanding of how our universe began and evolved.

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Filed under: Shuttle • Space
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    Good. Better safe than sorry.

    May 1, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. 2012

    That's interesting. http://nopolicestate.com

    May 1, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. dwie hermanie

    Any technical problems?

    May 1, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. shaggy

    Why? What about the why? CNN? GREAT reporting!!!

    May 1, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  5. RUFFNUTT

    i heard the shuttles porto-potty was plugged up.. some one flushed some paper towels down it...

    May 1, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. leeintulsa

    Does it matter why?

    May 1, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Cesar

    1)The nitrogen valve was not pressurized at the proper rate. 2) The right OMS pod revealed an unacceptable curvature. 3) An internal O-ring in the ground system helium coupling apparatus was not fully functional. I checked for more stuff but couldn't find anything else. Excuse me, I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with ice cold milk.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ Leeintulsa , It's basic Journalism 101: Who , What, When, Where, Why and How. I think I got em all.
    Good morning all

    May 1, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. popeye

    Must be another technical malfunction!

    May 1, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    Wonder how long that giffords chick can wait before she has to go back to the hospital?

    May 1, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. popeye

    Goodmorning to you jazzzzzzz I think the bridge fell on the troll last night I reported abuse on every post it made If you all see the troll do the same it may eventually get CNN's attention thanks the real popeye with a woman and kids.

    May 1, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. popeye

    Hey jazzzzzzz I've been missing you but not on purpose just have a crazy schedule !

    May 1, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. popeye

    Hey Jazzzzzzz, I just found out that my mom has been turning tricks for that troll. I can't believe it. I think I'm going to have a 3-way train with a couple of darkies that picked me up at the gay bar last night.
    Boy, if I could just stop the trolls. (I did stop being stright though! Whoo hoo)

    May 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazzzzzzzz

    Just reported the last popeye comment as it is obviously a TROLL

    May 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. RUFFNUTT

    wouldn't just be cheaper to go up to autozone and buy a new engine for the shuttle..? they come with a 3 year 36000mile warrentee...my friend jimmy could build a big cherry picker and we could probably have that enigne changed out in a couple weekends...

    as far as the tiles on the bottom go... home depo has a good deal on tiles atleast once a month... you could get those lavarock tiles and spray them with some easyoff...

    May 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazzzzzzzz

      LMAO , RUF YOUR THE TOPS today. thanks 🙂

      May 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
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