Feeds

NASA bumps lunar 'bots for Endeavour launch

Humans call 'cutsies'

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.