NASA now looks to launch Endeavour Monday
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- NASA unanimously approved a launch attempt Monday for the space shuttle Endeavour after reviewing all the repairs for an electrical problem that grounded the next-to-last shuttle flight two weeks ago.
The flight to the International Space Station will be led by commander Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was critically wounded during a January shooting rampage in her Tucson district. She was present for the first launch attempt, and is to be on hand for this one as well.
Mission management team chairman Mike Moses said Saturday he is confident the repairs took care of the electrical short and blown fuse that prevented a string of heaters from turning on during the first launch attempt on April 29. A thermostat with an exposed wire was replaced, as was a switch box with a blown fuse.
"In our minds, we are good to go," Moses said.
Forecasters put the odds of good weather at 70 percent. The main concerns are stiff crosswinds and low clouds.
Launch director Mike Leinbach said an estimated 500,000 spectators are expected to jam area roads and communities in advance of tomorrow's scheduled 8:56 a.m. launch. That's more than the crowd for Discovery's final launch in February, but far short of what was anticipated for Endeavour's launch attempt on April 29.
President Barack Obama and his family were among those who traveled to Kennedy Space Center last month hoping to see a launch. He met with the astronauts and visited with Giffords, but won't return tomorrow. -- AP