Sat, May 07, 2011
Earliest STS-134 Launch Date Now May 16
NASA managers have retargeted space shuttle Endeavour's launch
to no earlier than Monday, May 16. After a meeting on Friday, they
also extended the length of Endeavour's STS-134 mission to the
International Space Station from 14 to 16 days. If Endeavour
launches on May 16, liftoff would be at 0856 EDT.
At 1500 on Monday, May 9, NASA Space Shuttle Program Launch
Integration Manager Mike Moses and Shuttle Launch Director Mike
Leinbach will hold a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in
Florida to discuss the progress of repairs since Endeavour's launch
postponement on April 29.
Kennedy technicians are continuing work to resolve an issue in a
heater circuit associated with Endeavour's hydraulic system that
resulted in the launch postponement. Technicians determined the
failure was inside an aft load control assembly, which is a
switchbox in the shuttle's aft compartment, and possibly its
associated electrical wiring. Although the root cause of the
failure in the switchbox has not been found, technicians are
replacing hardware that could have caused the problem. The faulty
box was changed Wednesday, and a test of nine shuttle systems
powered by the new box is under way.
This weekend, technicians will install and check out new wiring
that bypasses the suspect electrical wiring connecting the
switchbox to the heaters. They also will run the heaters for up to
30 minutes to verify they are working properly and complete
retesting of the other systems powered by the switchbox.
The shuttle has three Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) that provide
hydraulic power to steer the vehicle during ascent and entry. The
hydrazine fuel lines on each APU have two heater circuits that
prevent the fuel from freezing while the shuttle is in space. NASA
launch commit criteria and flight rules require all APUs and heater
circuits to be operational for launch. On Endeavour's first launch
attempt, one of two heaters for APU-1's fuel line did not work.
Engineers confirmed the circuit in the original switchbox that
directed power to the heaters was shorted out.
Launch attempts are available through May 26. May 21 is the only
day a launch is not an option because it would lead to a May 23
docking with the space station. May 23 is when three of the space
station's Expedition 27 crew members undock and return home in
their Soyuz spacecraft. Managers reviewed the STS-134 mission
timeline and determined the Endeavour crew can accomplish all
objectives even with the departure of the three station crew
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