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Endeavour launch no earlier than May 10: NASA


Endeavour at launch pad. A NASA photo

WASHINGTON (AFP): Engineers have identified the technical problem that caused the US space agency to delay the launch of the shuttle Endeavour last week, and it will take several days to fix, NASA has said.

NASA space shuttle and International Space Station managers met on Monday and determined that Tuesday, May 10 would be the earliest Endeavour could be launched.

The launch of the shuttle Endeavour is to be the US programme’s second-to-last space flight to the International Space Station, followed by the mission of Atlantis in June. After that, the 30-year-old US shuttle programme will end.

The glitch was traced to a power problem in the aft load control assembly-2 (ALCA-2), a box of switches that control electrical flow to heaters that keep fuel lines from freezing in orbit.

“The plan is to remove and replace the box, but that work and related testing will take several days to complete,” NASA said.

“Once the new box is installed, the team must verify it’s working properly – at least a two-day process – and perform forensics on the failed box.”

The six-member crew of astronauts left Florida on Sunday and are engaging in more mission training at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas while they wait for the next launch attempt date to be announced.

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