Sunday, July 19, 2009

Space Shuttle Endeavour launch delay for lightning

11 lightning strikes were reported near the seaside launch pad of space shuttle Endeavour. For that reason NASA scrubbed space shuttle Endeavour's Saturday evening launch.
NASA technicians said they will need at least another day to check critical systems. They did not found any damage after an electrical storm Friday afternoon yet. After all the testing has been completed and whether to fuel Endeavour for a possible Sunday evening launch. Liftoff would be at 7:13 p.m. if NASA attempts to launch Sunday.
Mike Moses, chairman of that team, said there were 11 lightning strikes within three-tenths of a mile of the pad, although none of them struck the shuttle, external tank or the two solid rocket boosters.
At the pad, the shuttle has an elaborate lightning protection system with sensors and wires to direct lightning away from the shuttle and its rockets.
"The lightning protection system did its job," he said.
Sunday's weather is expected to slightly better, with conditions 60 percent favorable for launch. The main concern will be thunderstorms.
Endeavour should have blasted off to the international space station in mid-June, but was grounded by potentially dangerous leaks of hydrogen gas. Repairs to a misaligned plate on the external fuel tank, which hooks up with a hydrogen vent line, solved the problem.
The shuttle and its crew are set to deliver and install the third and final piece of Japan's $1 billion space station lab, named Kibo — Japanese for hope. The first two sections flew up last year.

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