NASA Delays Endeavor Launch
The delay comes a few hours after NASA cleared the space shuttle for lift off. On Thursday, announcing the decision to clear the launch, the exact words of Mike Moses, chair of the shuttle mission management team were “The orbiter itself, Endeavour, is in great shape.” Something must have gone wrong in the meanwhile, as here is Friday's statement, made by launch director Mike Leinbach:
"It's unfortunate for the [Endeavour] team and Mark Kelly and his crew, but today the orbiter's not ready to fly, and as we always say in this business, we will not fly before we're ready."
According to Space.com, two of the heaters in the shuttle's auxiliary power units (used to power hydraulics systems that are used at re-entry) failed on Friday morning. The malfunction resisted all attempts made to remove or fix it, “no matter what we did," as Leinbach said. The new launch date is May 2.
The last mission of the Endeavor will last 14 days. The shuttle will carry with it to the International Space Station spare parts, supplies and a $2 billion astrophysics experiment. After landing, the space shuttle will follow the same route as the Discovery: from the tarmac, to the hangar, and then to the museum. In Endeavor's case, to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.