NASA gets Endeavour ready for another lift-off attempt

16 May 2011

In the coming hours NASA will once again attempt to launch the Endeavour shuttle into space. It will be Endeavour’s final space flight and the second last before the entire NASA shuttle fleet is retired.

The original lift-off for 29 April was scapped after problems were discovered in heaters connected to the shuttle’s auxiliary power supply. The unit provides hydraulic power during the shuttle’s ascent and re-entry.

The shuttle will blast off just before 2pm GMT.

It will be Endeavour’s 25th and final mission. Its mission will be to carry the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) designed to probe the outer reaches of the universe.

After 16 days in space Endeavour will return to Earth and will be retired to a museum in Los Angeles, California.

Endeavour, which was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger that broke apart on liftoff in 1986, has travelled a cumulative distance in space of 166m km.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years