NASA delays space shuttle launch

NASA postponed the space shuttle Endeavour's last launch because of a heater failure. Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in Arizona almost four months ago, was standing by to see the launch. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is leading the mission. Despite the delay, the mood was still up beat in Florida as the President didn't cancel his visit. Our Grace Rauh has the story. 

FLORIDA -- They came in droves. Hundreds of thousands of spectators expected for Friday's launch of the Endeavour shuttle. A blast-off that was called off just a few hours before its scheduled departure.

"Unfortunately, it happens rather often. The space shuttle is an extraordinarily complicated vehicle," said NASA astronaut Michael Foale.
Problems with the heating system will keep it on the ground, at least for a few days. But that's just part of the story at the Kennedy Space Center. Interest in the lift-off is sky high because of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

"She has been here today. And I have seen her. She is doing well," Foale said.
Giffords was shot in the head at a meet-and-greet in Tuscon, Arizona back in January. She has a long recovery ahead of her, but with her doctors' blessings, she decided to make the trip. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is the shuttle commander.
"She is where she should be. And if she wasn't here it would be a shame," Foale said.
A reporter who has covered 97 shuttle launches says this one is different and not just because of Giffords.

"It's just a confluence of events. You've got the Mark Kelly-Gabrielle Giffords story. You've got the President coming. The next-to-last shuttle flight, last launch of Endeavour. Just big story, lots of drama, no matter where you turn," said Marcia Dunn of the Associated Press.

President Obama still came here Friday, even though the launch was scrubbed. He met privately with Giffords. The public hasn't seen any sign of her, other than a grainy footage of her boarding a plane to come to Florida. But she is certainly on the minds of many people here.
"I think it's a great thing that the woman has made such a great recovery, to be able to be here with her husband," one person said.

"I think it's incredible that she's able to," another person said.
An incredible journey indeed for Giffords and one that may still include another chapter: The chance to watch her husband go into space one more time.

0 Response to "NASA delays space shuttle launch"