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

    @bansay I'm not worried about the troll his just mentally and physically incapable of abstract thoughts ! He's a lot like toe jam stinky and keeps coming back!

    May 1, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Cesar

    Bring it on troll. What's your address? You chicken. Chic chic. Chic chic. Here chic chic chic.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    Here chic chic chic chic. Heeeeeeere chic chic chic chic. ..that's what I thought. No address. Just hide behind your computer, chicken troll.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lucy

    This troll is so stupid it doesn't even know the genders of the people it thinks it's attacking! This person is a complete and total moron! Hahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahaahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!! I know I'm not supposed to feed the troll, but oh, man, this this is soooooooo stupid! What a freaking 'tard!

    May 1, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Poor troll. Haven't heard from dumbo since it used popeye's name @ 3:54. Dumb azzzzz MF.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. popeye

    Hey Cesar...my mother said she has some creme that will clear up your herpes sores...didn't work on for me...bummer 🙁
    Anyway I'll see you and Jazzzzzzz at the gay bar tonight. (I'll bring the habanaro butt lube...tee hee)

    May 1, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. popeye

    and Cesar....tonight we can "troll" for drag queens again(Cesar is good at this).
    See ya boys!

    May 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lucy

    You're a moron, Fp. You're not eve good as a TROLL!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    May 1, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nora Dunn

    Well that's unfortunate for my friend who went all the way there to watch it take off

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kJGachsPnk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    May 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cesar

    Boooooooooo troll, boooooooo.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    Here chic chic chic. Here girl. Chic chic chic.

    May 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lucy

    Cesar, are you going to the Olive Garden with me, or not? 😉

    May 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Let's go Lucy, pizza and cold beer, mmmmmm.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lucy

    Yum. Sounds good!

    May 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jimmy

    They must have checked that system 1000 times before Friday. Kind of reminds me of the MILSTAR 3 launch, except there, they didn't catch the problem.

    May 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
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