May 15, 2011 in Nation/World

Shuttle Endeavour cleared for launch

Marcia Dunn Associated Press
 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA unanimously approved a Monday morning launch attempt 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 U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded during a January shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz. 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 told reporters. Forecasters put the odds of good weather at 70 percent.

President Barack Obama and his family were among those who traveled to Kennedy Space Center last month hoping to see a launch. He won’t return Monday.

“I sure would have liked to have him come back,” Launch director Mike Leinbach said. “We did all that work for him, and now he’s not going to get to see a launch.” It’s possible, he noted, that the president may come for the very last shuttle launch in July.

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