Monday, April 26, 2010
An issue with a payload destined to fly aboard a July space shuttle flight has forced the delay in that mission until November.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is the prime payload of the STS-134 mission of Endeavour, and was targeted for a July 29th liftoff.
Delays in preparing the payload at it's test center in Geneva, Switzerland has now pushed the launch back several months.
Endeavour will now fly the final space shuttle mission of the program sometime in late November or early December. A target launch date may not be known until August.
"Scientists with the AMS program recently decided to change out the current magnet in the particle physics experiment module that will be attached to the International Space Station to a longer lasting one," NASA's Johnson Space Center stated today. "This will take advantage of NASA’s plan to extend station operations until at least 2020."
On April 11, the V-shaped AMS payload was located in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, for several days of vacuum testing. It has since been returned to Geneva for further testing to prepare it for it's vertical attitude prior to launch.
The 15,300 pound AMS will be placed aboard the International Space Station and ran for several years.
It is a particle physics experiment in which scientists will use it's 300,000 data channels to flow information obtained to some 600 computers.