Monday, May 09, 2011

NASA officially sets May 16 for shuttle Endeavour's launch

Shuttle Endeavour stands poised for a May 16 launch. (NASA)

NASA managers officially set May 16 for a second attempt to launch space shuttle Endeavour on a 16 day mission to install a package to research dark matter in the universe and perform four spacewalks outside earth's orbital outpost in space.

Endeavour was due to lift-off on April 29, but an avionics box which controls the warming of the power producing auxiliary power unit no. 1 did not power up forcing the launch team to scrub the launch.

Technicians quickly set up a work site hours following the scrub to allow workers inside the aft compartment of Endeavour to begin investigative work on the cause of the APU heater failure.

NASA's space shuttle management team, feeling very confident with the recent repairs to the ships wiring and electrical box change out, announced the official launch date this afternoon during a news conference.

Endeavour is set to depart earth bound for the International Space Station this Monday at 8:56:26 a.m. EDT, from launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Endeavour's all veteran crew includes commander Mark Kelly, pilot Gregory H. Johnson and mission specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and Roberto Vittori of the European Space Agency.

The crew are scheduled to arrive upon the Space Coast on Thursday at 11:00 a.m., and the launch countdown is set to begin Friday morning at 7:00 a.m.

Once launched, Endeavour will dock to the International Space Station two days later to begin 12 days of docked operations.

The mission's prime payload, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer 2, will be removed and attached to the station a day later.

AMS is a particle physics detector which will study and measure cosmic rays to look for and understand dark matter in the universe around us.

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