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. popeye

    @ruff nutt I am in agreement KFC rules ! I got popeye from jazzzzzzz because I work on the tow boat and she come up with that Händel for me and it just stuck !

    May 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy

    @Mary (Beautiful Jasmine) re: FB:

    I would be honored, my friend. Anytime.
    Enjoy "The Chamber". Grisham is an awesome author!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    I remember when she did that, popeye! Although maybe you should go back to "Dave" while they're out trolling, trolling, trolling.....

    May 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. popeye

    Hey ruff nutt poisoned troll chow is a great idea ! How about habanaro hot sauce in his jar of butt lube that way we could get at least two ? Then they could have some troll chow to cool the burn!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. popeye

    No matter what the fakey troll says I am proud to be a cross-dressing drag queen. I'm popeye and I am flaming gay LOSER.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. popeye

    Everyone one knows who you are you the fake always talking your gay trash its plain to see you like the we- we so go blog a gay site you'll be in your own company !

    May 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lucy

    Okay, fake popeye. Whatever.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lucy

    Anyone who hijacks a name just to proclaim they are a gay loser to try and trash the original owner are really proclaiming they themselves are gay. So just come out of the closet and choose your own user name, and be done with it. Nobody on the blog really cares about your gender preference, but YOU seem awfully preoccupied with it...methinks thou protests too much, Gaylord.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar

    @Troll@ 3:18 PM: Get a life. You filthy MF.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |

      oh ho...you just dropped you bag of troll chow....

      May 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    Attack the troll! Attack the troll! Attack the troll! Attack the troll!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    Booooooooo to the troll. Boooooooooo. Booooooooo. Booooooooooo. LOSER!!!!!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. popeye

    Jazzzzzz and I made some habanaro hot sauce butt lube for fake popeye. I put it between my butt cheeks and Jazzzzzz rammed it in with his intergalactic meat rocket and I love it. My mother tried to trade me some meth for it but I like it too much!
    I'm popeye and I am a gay re-tarded loser!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |

    i think you have to throw the troll in to a vat of acid...

    or give him the t2 treatment and lower him into a vat of molten metal...

    May 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |

    you been a naughty troll. you need to go to your room for time-out..

    May 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    @Troll fake popeye of 3:54: Boooooooooo. Booooooooo to you loser, lonely, pathetic hi-jacking name stealing wh/ore like your mama. Boooooo. Booooooooooooo. Booooooo. Go home. Troll go home. Troll go home. Troll go home. Boooooooo. Booooooooo.

    May 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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