KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.--Engineers have traced an electrical problem blamed for grounding the shuttle Endeavour Friday to a power distribution box in the ship's engine compartment, officials said today. Replacing the box will delay launch until at least May 8--Mother's Day--and possibly later.
"I'm here to disappoint everybody by saying I'm not going to tell you what the new launch date is because I have no idea," Mike Moses, chairman of NASA's Mission Management Team, told reporters after engineers decided on a course of action. "We have a lot to evaluate, both the work to do, the R & R (removal and replacement), the retest that has to be done, how we work all that schedule in.
"But we can tell you pretty much it's not going to be any earlier than the 8th. That doesn't mean we're going to go launch on the 8th, that just means we know right now the 8th is our next available opening," he said.
Launch Director Mike Leinbach said engineers plan to remove the suspect aft load control assembly--ALCA-2--box from Endeavour's cramped engine compartment tomorrow, install a replacement Tuesday and get into a complex re-test procedure Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
To make a launch at 12:09:17 p.m. EDT on May 8, NASA would have to start a fresh three-day countdown around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Whether the team can complete the ALCA-2 swap-out and re-test in time remains to be seen.… Read more