Feeds

NASA bumps lunar 'bots for Endeavour launch

Humans call 'cutsies'

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.