April 29, 2011

NASA Scraps Today’s Launch Attempt

NASA scrubbed the countdown for space shuttle Endeavour's final launch today.

The space agency said today's launch attempt was cut due to an issue associated with Auxiliary Power Unit 1 heaters.

"There will be at least a 48-hour scrub turnaround while engineers assess the issue," NASA said in a statement.

NASA Commentator George Diller said "The engineering team did not understand how this problem occurred and did not feel comfortable proceeding with a launch attempt."

The space agency will hold a press conference later this afternoon.

The six-member crew is intended to travel to the International Space Station to place a 15,000-pound particle physics detector on it.

This experiment will look for elusive antimatter and the origins of mysterious dark matter.

President Barack Obama was expected to be attending the launch with his family.  Also, commander Mark Kelly's wife, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be in attendance.

Giffords was shot in the head in January in an assassination attempt in her hometown of Tuscon. 

"There is no way she would miss a launch involving her husband," her spokesman, CJ Karamargin, told AFP this week.

The crowd was expected to hit about 500,000 and 750,000 people to watch the final launch. 

This is the next to last flight for the shuttle program after over 530 million miles of circling the Earth.  Atlantis is set for a June launch time to be the final shuttle to embark on a journey into space.

Endeavour's mission will last 14-days and its crew will include five Americans and one Italian.


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