Sun, Jun 14, 2009
Another Vehicle Launch Conflict Could Postpone STS-127
It has to be a crushing disappointment to be SO ready for such
a pivotal event... and then have to delay one's aspirations for the
better part of a week... but alas, that is the situation facing the
crew of STS-127. As noted previously, NASA has had to postpone
space shuttle Endeavour's launch to the International Space
Station, Saturday, because of a leak associated with the gaseous
hydrogen venting system outside the shuttle’s external fuel
tank. The system is used to carry excess hydrogen safely away from
the launch pad. NASA officials have noted that the leak is a
pad-related problem and is NOT a vehicle-related issue.
Managers scrubbed the launch for at least 96 hours.
The earliest the shuttle could be ready to launch is June 17.
However, there is a conflict on the Eastern Range that date with
the scheduled launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter/Lunar
Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite.
Mission managers have scheduled a meeting for 1400 EDT Sunday to
discuss the repair options and Endeavour's launch opportunities. A
news conference will follow the meeting and air on NASA Television
and the agency’s Web site.
The 16-day mission will feature five spacewalks and complete
construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo
laboratory. Astronauts will attach a platform to the outside of the
Japanese module that will allow experiments to be exposed to
The STS-127 crew members are Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Doug
Hurley and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom
Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie
Payette. Kopra will join the space station crew and replace
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will return to Earth on
Endeavour to conclude a three-month stay at the station.
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