Feeds

NASA bumps lunar 'bots for Endeavour launch

Humans call 'cutsies'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.