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Endeavour Launch Pushed Back to May 16 at the Earliest


May 9, 2011 — The final launch of space shuttle Endeavour has been delayed again – to Monday, May 16 at the earliest - as technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center work to fix a heater circuit associated with Endeavour's hydraulic system. The STS-134 mission to the International Space Station was also extended from 14 to 16 days. If Endeavour launches on May 16, liftoff would be at 8:56 a.m. EDT. The mission was originally slated to launch on April 28.

The shuttle’s three auxiliary power units (APUs) provide hydraulic power to steer the vehicle during ascent and entry. The hydrazine fuel lines on each APU have two heater circuits that prevent the fuel from freezing while the shuttle is in space. NASA launch commit criteria and flight rules require all three APUs and heater circuits to be operational for liftoff.

Launch attempts are available through May 26, except for May 21, which would interfere with a scheduled May 23 docking with the space station for transporting three of the space station's Expedition 27 crew members back to Earth.

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