Jul 31, 2009
The shuttle mission that didn't get off the ground until its sixth scheduled launch attempt earlier this month made it home much more smoothly, landing this morning during its first opportunity to do so. Endeavour returned to Earth at 10:48 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time), touching down at Kennedy Space Center in Florida under blue skies.
In a 16-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the seven-member crew of Endeavour delivered and installed the final pieces of the station's Japanese Kibo science lab. NASA now rates the ISS as 83 percent complete—only recently did it reach its design capacity of six resident crew members. With the shuttle slated to be retired next year, NASA has a packed full manifest of launches so that the ISS can be finished before the U.S. loses its capacity to send humans into orbit.
Jul 17, 2009
The biggest space party in history just got under way, as space shuttle Endeavour linked up with the International Space Station at 1:47 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time), placing 13 people in orbit together—the most ever in one spot.
Endeavour's crew of seven met the newly expanded space station crew, which recently doubled in size to six, when the hatches between the two spacecraft opened two hours later.
Before the docking, the space shuttle performed a backflip so that ISS astronauts could photograph its underside heat shield from up close. Those images will be analyzed by mission managers on the ground, but a preliminary scan of the shielding yesterday did not reveal any worrisome damage, NASA said, despite the fact that the shuttle was struck by falling debris during ascent.
Jul 16, 2009 | 2
The damage to space shuttle Endeavour's heat shield during its ascent yesterday does not appear to be dangerous, NASA officials said today in a press briefing. Multiple debris strikes occurred as pieces of foam insulation from the external fuel tank fell off as the orbiter rose into the sky, but Endeavour appears not to have suffered significant damage.
"From an orbiter standpoint, there is nothing that we have seen on the orbiter that causes us any concern," space shuttle program manager John Shannon said. He added that the primary concern was not for this mission but for the prevention of similar occurrences in future launches. A photograph of the external tank after separation from the shuttle showed roughly a dozen areas where the foam insulation was missing.
Jul 15, 2009
After many false starts, one of the final remaining space shuttle missions got under way this evening with the liftoff of the Endeavour orbiter from Kennedy nasSpace Center in Florida. The shuttle blasted off at 6:03 P.M. (Eastern Daylight Time) on a mission to the International Space Station (ISS), after hydrogen leaks twice delayed June launch attempts and bad weather thwarted three liftoff opportunities earlier this month.
Only two past shuttle missions, both launching on the seventh attempt, endured more delays.
Jul 13, 2009
NASA will make a fifth try at launching space shuttle Endeavour this evening, after storms twice delayed attempts over the weekend. The shuttle's mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was originally slated to begin in June but was twice postponed that month due to leaks in a venting system that carries hydrogen gas away from the launch pad.
Jun 13, 2009 | 1
The launch of space shuttle Endeavour from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which had been scheduled for 7:17 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time) today, has been postponed due to a leak of hydrogen at the launch site, NASA announced early this morning. With days needed for repair, the soonest available launch opportunity for the orbiter is now June 17, but the space agency plans to launch a pair of lunar spacecraft that day from nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which poses a scheduling conflict.
In a statement, NASA said the Endeavour launch to the International Space Station was "on hold due to a leak associated with the gaseous hydrogen venting system outside the external fuel tank." A similar leak postponed the launch of space shuttle Discovery in March, which eventually lifted off safely four days later.
Jun 12, 2009
Tomorrow morning's launch of space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station looks promising, as mission managers are reporting no problems and the weather appears to be cooperating. The shuttle is scheduled to lift off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 7:17 A.M. (Eastern Daylight Time).
The 16-day Endeavour mission will deliver a Japanese science module to the ISS, including an exposed "porch" that will allow experiments to be carried out in the extreme conditions of space.
The space station, which saw its population double to six for the first time late last month, will host a whopping 13 astronauts from five countries (Russia, the U.S., Japan, Canada and Belgium) once Endeavour docks with its seven-person crew.
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