NASA delays shuttle launch to May 8

An electronics problem pushes back Endeavour's launch to at least May 8.

Photograph by: Scott Audette, Reuters, Reuters

NASA on Sunday delayed the launch of space shuttle Endeavour to no earlier than May 8 as work continues to resolve an electronics problem that scuttled Friday's launch attempt, officials said.

NASA tried to launch Endeavour on Friday on its 25th and final flight to deliver the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector to the International Space Station. A problem with a heating system on one of the ship's hydraulic power generators prompted managers to halt the countdown. The heaters keep fuel from freezing in the line, preventing it from rupturing in the cold vacuum of space.

NASA was hopeful that the problem would have an easy solution and had re-targeted Endeavour's launch for today, but further troubleshooting indicated the glitch was more complicated than officials hoped initially.

Workers will replace a microwave-sized electronics box, in the shuttle's rear engine compartment, which routes power to the heaters, as well as 70 to 80 other shuttle systems. Installing a new switch and retesting all the systems that draw power through the circuit will take several days.

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