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article imageShuttle Endeavour's final flight delayed again

By Brian Bradley     May 1, 2011 in World
Cape Canaveral - The final flight of shuttle Endeavour has been delayed again as NASA continues to work a technical issue that originally grounded the flight on Friday.
Originally hoping to for a second launch attempt tomorrow, mission managers said the plan will not be possible as they have yet to determine the exact cause of a heather glitch within the spacecraft’s power system.
“There still are numerous factor to be worked out,” NASA reported, on Facebook.
A fix for the heater is critical as it keeps fuel from freezing within the spacecraft.
NASA will now target May 8 for launch but will not confirm an official date until later this week.
Just before the announcement, Greg Johnson, pilot for the mission, reported, “Hope for a Monday launch is fading… but the bigger picture is we are ensuring Endeavour is in tip-top shape. We’ll fly when she’s ready.”
He tweets under the Twitter handle @Astro_Box.
The crew is now on their way back to Houston to continue training until a new launch date is set.
Endeavour was poised to make its final mission, a two-week flight to the International Space Station. The crew will install a billion dollar astrophysics experiment and a host of critical hardware and supplies to have on hand at the facility, which can’t be delivered after the shuttle is retired in June.
Friday’s delay came as a disappointment to the record number of spectators gathered at Cape Canaveral. Among them were U.S. President Barack Obama and the First Family. The Obamas took the time to tour the space center and meet the Endeavour crew despite the delay.
Also among the spectators was Gabrielle Giffords, the U.S. congresswoman who was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Arizona in January. The wife of Endeavour’s commander Mark Kelly, she has been recovering at a rehabilitation facility in Houston. Medical clearance to travel to Florida for launch marked a milestone in her recovery.
“Congresswoman Giffords is disappointed that Endeavour was unable to launch today, but realizes that mission safety must come first,” her office reported on Facebook. “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. Her travel plans at this time are undetermined.”
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