NASA says Endeavour won't launch before May 8

Engineers and techs working on fix, testing for auxiliary power unit on shuttle

After calling off last Friday's planned final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, NASA now says the earliest it might lift off is May 8.

Technicians and engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center have been working to identify the problem behind the delay; NASA now says it could take "several days" to make any repairs and do the requisite tests before the shuttle would be safe for launch.

"We can tell you, pretty much, that it's not going to be any earlier than [May 8]," said Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager Mike Moses on Sunday. "We're really not even setting the schedules today. There's still a whole lot of short-term work that has to be done."

Just hours before Endeavour's scheduled liftoff Friday afternoon, Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach announced the postponement, citing problems with two heaters associated with the shuttle's Auxiliary Power Unit. The unit provides hydraulic power during the shuttle's ascent and entry.

This morning, NASA announced that the problem stems from trouble with a box of switches that control power feeds on the auxiliary unit. The plan is to remove that box and replace it with a brand new one.

The six-man crew will use this extra time to squeeze in some extra training, according to the space agency.

Endeavour is poised for a 15-day mission to bring equipment and supplies to the International Space Station. The equipment includes two S-band communication antennas, spare parts for the station's humanoid robot, and a spare arm for the station's Dextre robot.

The shuttle also is carrying a piece of equipment that will search space for some of the biggest mysteries of physics -- antimatter and dark matter. The AMS (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) particle detector will be installed and operated on the International Space Station.

After this mission, Endeavour will be retired. Space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to liftoff on its final mission in June, making it the last shuttle scheduled to fly in space.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about emerging technologies in Computerworld's Emerging Technologies Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags hardwareGovernment use of ITNASAEmerging TechnologiesIT in Governmenthardware systemsshuttlegovernment

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?