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Orbiter: Endeavour
Mission: STS-134
Payload: AMS
Launch: May 16, 2011
Time: 8:56 a.m. EDT
Site: Pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center
Landing: June 1 @ 2:35 a.m. EDT
Site: KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility

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Space shuttle Endeavour launch delayed further
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD
STORY WRITTEN FOR CBS NEWS "SPACE PLACE" & USED WITH PERMISSION
Posted: May 1, 2011


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Engineers have traced an electrical problem blamed for grounding the shuttle Endeavour Friday to an avionics box in the ship's engine compartment, officials said Sunday. Replacing the box will delay launch past Monday, but NASA managers have not yet determined when another attempt might be possible.


Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA
 
An Air Force Atlas 5 rocket carrying a missile early warning satellite is scheduled for launch May 6 with a second day available as a backup. NASA cannot launch Endeavour between May 5 and 7 because the Air Force Eastern Range, which provides tracking and telemetry support for all rockets launched from the East Coast, needs 48 hours between missions to reconfigure equipment.

Whether the Air Force might agree to delay the Atlas launch to make way for Endeavour is not yet known, but work to replace and retest the avionics box is expected to take several days. It appears unlikely NASA could complete that work in time for a launch by May 4, the last available day before the Atlas cutout.

Barring a delay for the Atlas, Endeavour's launch could move to May 8 or, if the Air Force launch slips a day, to May 10. A May 9 launch date is not available for the shuttle because undocking from the International Space Station would come on the same day a Russian Soyuz is scheduled to depart.

Endeavour commander Mark Kelly and his crewmates -- pilot Gregory H. Johnson, Michael Fincke, Gregory Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori -- flew back to Houston early Sunday aboard a shuttle training aircraft to await developments.

"Things happen fast," Johnson said in a Twitter update. "We are now all aboard an STA for return to Houston. Be back in a few days. More to follow."

Endeavour was grounded Friday during the final hours of the countdown because of telemetry indicating multiple fuel line heaters used by one of the shuttle's three hydraulic power units were not activating normally. The heaters are needed to keep the lines from freezing and possibly rupturing in flight.

The shuttle is equipped with three auxiliary power units, providing the hydraulic muscle to move the ship's engine nozzles, wing elevons, rudder, tail fin speed brake, body flap, landing gear brakes and nose wheel steering system. The shuttle can safely fly with a single APU, but flight rules require full redundancy for a countdown to proceed.

Likewise, each of the shuttle's three APUs is equipped with redundant heater "strings" and only one channel is required for normal operation. But again, the flight rules require redundancy to protect against a subsequent failure that could knock the system out of action.

Early Saturday, engineers ruled out a problem with the fuse panel in the shuttle's cockpit that routes power to the APU circuitry. That left two possible culprits: one or more faulty heater control thermostats or the aft load controller assembly, or ALCA-2, avionics box the heater circuitry runs through.

To find out if a faulty thermostat was to blame, engineers working in Endeavour's cramped engine compartment Saturday afternoon sprayed compressed air on APU No. 1's B-channel heater thermostats to lower their temperature enough to find out whether they would cycle on or not. They did not, but that could have been the result of a wiring problem or a bad connector. Additional tests were carried out overnight and no such problems were found.

Engineers met early Sunday and recommended replacing the ALCA-2 box. It's not yet clear how long that work might take.

"Due to additional troubleshooting required for APU 1 heater issue, Monday's launch attempt has been scrubbed," the launch team was told early Sunday. "Currently in work to secure from launch countdown operations at this time. No new launch date has been determined."


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Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: PRESIDENT OBAMA ARRIVES AT THE CAPE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TOUR OF ATLANTIS AND ASTRONAUT MEETING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: FIRST FAMILY DEPARTS AFTER VISIT PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: POST-SCRUB NEWS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH DIRECTOR EXPLAINS SCRUB CALL PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SCRUB DECLARED FOR APU NO. 1 HEATER GLITCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS LEAVE QUARTERS BEFORE SCRUB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW GETS SUITED UP FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: TIME-LAPSE OF PAD GANTRY RETRACTING PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR'S PRE-FLIGHT CAMPAIGN PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PAYLOADS' PRE-FLIGHT CAMPAIGN PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PREPARING ENDEAVOUR FUEL TANK FOR LAUNCH PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: COUNTDOWN UPDATE AND WEATHER BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: THE PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE PLAY
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS ARRIVE AT LAUNCH SITE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: COUNTDOWN PREVIEW BRIEFING PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: GUIDED TOUR OF SPACE STATION PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR MISSION PREVIEW MOVIE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: GET TO KNOW ENDEAVOUR'S ASTRONAUTS PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH MARK KELLY PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH GREG JOHNSON PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH MIKE FINCKE PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH ROBERTO VITTORI PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH DREW FEUSTEL PLAY
VIDEO: PRE-FLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH GREG CHAMITOFF PLAY

VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR CLEARED FOR APRIL 29 LAUNCH PLAY

VIDEO: EVACUATION DRESS REHEARSAL PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUTS BOARD ENDEAVOUR PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SUITING UP FOR PRACTICE COUNT PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: SHUTTLE INSPECTED FOR STORM DAMAGE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW TEST-DRIVES PAD ESCAPE VEHICLE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ASTRONAUT CHAT AT THE PRESS SITE PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CREW ARRIVES FOR PRACTICE COUNT PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: PAYLOADS ARRIVE AT LAUNCH PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: CANISTER ROTATED UPRIGHT FOR PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PALLET OF SPARE PARTS INTO CANISTER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: AMS PAYLOAD PUT INTO TRANSPORTER PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: SHUTTLE AND STATION PROGRAM BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: THE STS-134 MISSION OVERVIEW PRESENTATIONS PLAY
VIDEO: IN-DEPTH WITH ALPHA MAGNETIC SPECTROMETER PLAY
VIDEO: PREVIEW BRIEFING ON MISSION'S SPACEWALKS PLAY
VIDEO: THE ASTRONAUTS' PRE-FLIGHT NEWS BRIEFING PLAY

VIDEO: SUN RISES OVER THE LAUNCH PAD PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR ARRIVES ATOP PAD 39A PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ROLLOUT FROM VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: HOISTING ENDEAVOUR TO TANK AND SRBS PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ORBITER GOES VERTICAL PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR LEAVES PROCESSING HANGAR PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: PAYLOAD MEDIA DAY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: THE ALPHA MAGNETIC SPECTROMETER PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PAYLOAD REMOVED FROM C-5 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: AMS ARRIVES FROM EUROPE PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: EXPRESS LOGISTICS CARRIER NO. 3 PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: HIGH-PRESSURE OXYGEN GAS TANK PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: PUTTING STATION ANTENNA ON CARRIER PLAY | HI-DEF

VIDEO: TANK UNLOADED TO ASSEMBLY BUILDING PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: THE EXTERNAL FUEL TANK ARRIVES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: BOOSTER SEGMENT MOVED TO VAB PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: KENNEDY SPACE CENTER SRB CEREMONY PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ENDEAVOUR FITTED WITH MAIN ENGINES PLAY | HI-DEF
VIDEO: ORBITER TOWED OFF RUNWAY PLAY | HI-DEF

MORE: STS-134 VIDEO ARCHIVE
HDTV: HIGH-DEFINITION COVERAGE
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