NASA scrubs shuttle launch due to engineering problem

NASA scrubbed the last scheduled launch of the space shuttle Endeavour on Friday, citing problems with failed heaters. Astronauts on buses heading to the shuttle turned around mid-route.

The next possible launch date is Sunday. Commander Mark Kelly, husband of injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was leading the mission and Giffords was scheduled to watch the launch, along with President Obama and his family.

Space shuttle launches are often delayed and re-scheduled.

The shuttle is loaded with a $2 billion particle physics detector that will seek out antimatter and dark energy across the universe. Many in and outside NASA say the experiment, if successful, could validate science operations at the decade-old orbiting lab.

As many as 750,000 people were expected to crowd nearby coastal communities for the liftoff, the Associated Press reported. The very last shuttle mission is scheduled for June 28. After that, the United States will rely on Russian spacecraft to get astronauts in and out of orbit.

The Kennedy Space Center was groaning with 45,000 guests, including more than three dozen members of Congress, at least two former NASA administrators, and a score of high-level academic and space industry officials.

President Obama, who was touring tornado-struck Alabama, had not yet arrived.

NASA is ending the shuttle program this summer, after the last trip by Atlantis. Obama is pushing private space initiatives and encouraging robotic scientific mission.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.