Feeds

NASA bumps lunar 'bots for Endeavour launch

Humans call 'cutsies'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

NASA is bumping its robotic mission to the moon in favor of a rescheduled Endeavour launch on Wednesday.

The US space agency said today the human-staffed excursion to the International Space Station will take priority June 17 over the launch of NASA's unmanned Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).

The space-faring 'bots will have to cool their jets until June 18 at the earliest.

Endeavour's STS-127 mission blastoff was scrubbed Saturday morning when NASA discovered a potentially dangerous hydrogen leak in the vent line leading to the shuttle's external fuel tank. A similar problem grounded Discovery's STS-119 mission to the ISS in March.

"Our teams have been working very hard over the last couple days to get this piece of equipment fixed," said NASA Test Director Steve Payne during a Monday debriefing. "Endeavour is in good shape and the teams are excited to be back to working towards a launch on Wednesday morning."

With a queue of rockets now forming in Florida, NASA had to choose between hauling the final piece Japan's Kibo lab to the ISS, and the agency's first return to the lunar surface in a decade. Complicating the matter is the relatively short window of opportunity available for both.

Endeavour must fly by this weekend or wait until mid-July because the sun angle would overheat the shuttle while docked to the ISS.

NASA's two lunar probes also need to be launched by Saturday or wait until the end of this month for a second chance.

The LRO spacecraft is designed to scout for "safe and compelling lunar landing sites" while LCROSS looks for signs of water in a plume of debris caused by its Centaur rocket smashing into the moon.

NASA said it can maximize launch attempts by giving Endeavour the go on Wednesday. The Air Force will need a day to reconfigure the systems for its unmanned Atlas V rocket launching the probes. The lunar craft are scheduled to blastoff Thursday, with Saturday reserved as a backup. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?