Sunday, May 1, 2011

Endeavor Launch Delayed

Pilot Greg Johnson in Shuttle Training Jet.

Back to the simulators. Endeavor was all set for launching on Friday, with tremendous crowds on hand to observe this last flight of this orbiter on mission STS-134. Alas, it was not meant to be. A heater problem in Auxiliary Power Unit 1 (APU-1) is under investigation as the culprit for the delay. As of this posting, the problem is not resolved, but a decision is expected Sunday morning on whether there will be a launch attempt Monday.

President Obama boarding Air Force One.

Also there to watch the flight of Endeavor was POTUS (President of the United States) Obama. Well, at least I know that he has now experienced what I've experienced every time I went to Kennedy Space Center to watch a launch: Frustration at a launch delay.

Lightning at the pad Thursday night.

It just so happened that Thursday night I was teaching class on Space Exploration Merit Badge at the Space Center. During the class I activated NASA TV on the main screen in the room, and lo and behold there was a tremendous lightning storm in progress. The boys in the class were duly impressed as bolt after bolt lit up the night scene and illustrated my impromptu lesson on the launch tower lightning rods! I usually don't get such a coincidental opportunity!

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