Tuesday, May 3, 2011

STS-134 Launch Delayed

Endeavor on Pad 39A.

By now you may have heard that the launch of mission STS-134 has been delayed. The culprit appears to be a faulty heater in the aft avionics section of the orbiter. NASA engineers now plan to replace Load Control Assembly-2 this week in order to prepare the shuttle for another opportunity to launch.

Technician begins repairs.

The picture above gives a clear view of one of the aft sections near the engines on the orbiter. You can clearly see the large pipes which bring in fuel from the External Tank (ET) to be ignited in the main engines. Heaters in the section control the temperature of the freezing-cold liquid fuel.

Endeavor is scheduled now for a flight no earlier than May 10. The mission to ISS is purposed to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, the Express Logistics carrier with supplies, and spare parts for the Dextre robotic helper.

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