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04-04-2011, 05:25 PM #1
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Shuttle Endeavour launch to be delayed 10 days
From the Orlando Sentinel........
NASA has postponed the launch of space shuttle Endeavour by 10 days -- tentatively resetting it to April 29 -- because of a scheduling conflict with a Russian supply rocket.
The Russian Progress supply vehicle is set to launch April 27 and arrive at the international space station April 29, and there's no room at the station for both to be docked there at the same time.
Endeavour was to launch April 19. The mission will be 14 days, so if had reached the space station as planned on April 21, it still would have been there when the Russian spacecraft arrived with supplies.
NASA spokeswoman Candrea Thomas said that it might have been possible for the Progress rocket to "loiter'' – essentially wait in space for the shuttle to depart, which would have been around April 30. But conversations between NASA and the Russians over the weekend led to the conclusion that it would be best to just delay the Endeavour launch.
Now, Endeavour is expected to reach the space station on May 1. By then Progress will be gone.
Still, nothing will be official until NASA managers hold a Flight Readiness Review on Tuesday, April 19, to assess the team's readiness to support launch. An official launch date will be selected at the conclusion of the meeting.
The current plan calls for a 3:47 p.m. liftoff on April 29.
NASA also announced Monday that detailed inspections of the shuttle Saturday found only minor damage to insulating foam on Endeavour's external fuel tank but no damage to the spacecraft itself. The inspection followed last week's severe storms at Cape Canaveral.
On Monday, workers at the pad will continue closeouts in Endeavour's aft section and will load hydrazine into the shuttle's hydraulic power units.
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