NASA To Work Issue Over the Weekend and Targets Monday for Launch of Endeavour

By Marc Boucher
April 29, 2011
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NASA To Work Issue Over the Weekend and Targets Monday for Launch of Endeavour
NASA To Work Issue Over the Weekend and Targets Monday for Launch of Endeavour

Kennedy Space Center – At the post-scrub press briefing NASA launch director Mike Leinbach said they called the scrub at 12:15 pm EDT after reviewing the failure in one of the two heater circuits for the Auxiliary Power Unit 1.

It was just coincidental that the crew had just left the Operations and Checkout Building heading towards the pad. They made it as far as the Launch Control Center where they were told the mission was scrubbed and they headed back to the crew quarters at the Operations and Checkout Building.

It will be 24 hours from the scrub time before technicians can access Endeavour’s aft cabin Load Control Assembly (LCA). The LCA, a switchbox, is now where engineers think the problem is. By dinner time Saturday managers feel they will be able to start troubleshooting the problem after they’ve gained access to the LCA. Managers will meet Saturday night and Sunday morning to discuss progress on the issue. If they are to launch on Monday NASA will have to make that call no later than early Sunday afternoon so that by around 3 pm EDT they can begin preparations for launch.

If however the problem is not easily resolved and they have to remove the Load Control Assembly then a longer scrub will be necessary. Unfortunately the window to launch next week only goes through to Wednesday, May 4th. An Atlas 5 is scheduled for launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on May 6th with the military’s Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Satellite. The military will also need May 5th and 7th for their launch window. If there is possibility of the Atlas 5 launch not being ready for launch on May 6th then NASA might have those days available if an accommodation can be made. If NASA can’t use those days and needs to do extra work on the orbiter then the earliest they might try to launch is May 9th and 10th. NASA however is still proceeding under the assumption they will try to launch the earliest on Monday at 2:33 p.m. EDT unless the issue is not resolved.

If this issue had not come up today the weather at launch time was green and Endeavour would have been good to go.

President Obama spent 2 1/2 hours with his family touring the Kennedy Space Center including seeing the orbiter Atlantis in the Orbiter Processing Facility-1. They also spent time in Launch Control Center where the President and the First Lady spoke with the crew of Endeavour.

If Endeavour can launch on Monday the President won’t be able to attend and it is unlikely his family would either.

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