NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has announced today’s space shuttle launch has been scrubbed.
According to the organization’s Facebook page, engineers discovered a mechanical issue and were not comfortable moving forward with the launch.
Here’s what was posted on the FB page:
We have scrubbed today’s STS-134 launch attempt because of an issue associated with Auxiliary Power Unit 1 heaters. There will be at least a 48-hour scrub turnaround while engineers assess the issue. “The engineering team did not understand how this problem occured and did not feel comfortable proceeding with a launch attempt,” NASA Commentator George Diller said.
Official representatives speaking on NASA TVs live stream said the space shuttle launch delay is now for only 72 hours, although there are no guarantees that the problems will be resolved by then. Some are saying a longer delay is likely.
They are talking about removing the external tank, which is a huge undertaking. It’s not obvious, according to NASA TV, what is wrong and engineers will need time to troubleshoot to figure out the problem and how to fix it.
Thousands of tourists have poured into the Cape Canaveral area to witness this second-to-last space shuttle launch. Included among excited onlookers is Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was allowed to leave the hospital where she’s recovering from being shot in the head during a mass shooting three months ago in Tucson. Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, is the Endeavour’s commander for this mission.
A shuttle launch scheduled in June will be the last for this storied space exploration program, which has been embedded in American consciousness if not for it’s wild successes and advancements than for the tragedies of the Challenger and Columbia explosions.
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