Source: Sherman Publications

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Feustel, shuttle grounded until at least Tuesday

May 04, 2011

Local astronaut Drew Feustel and the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour are back in Houston, as NASA space shuttle and International Space Station managers met Monday and determined the earliest the shuttle could be launched is next Tuesday (May 10).

"That date is success oriented based on preliminary schedules to replace a faulty Load Control Assembly (LCA) box in the orbiter's aft compartment," NASA officials said.

Managers will meet Friday to determine a more definite launch date after the box is removed and replaced and the retest of systems has been completed.

Sunday night and Monday, technicians at NASA's Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A tested systems including the box itself, which is expected to be replaced with an existing spare.

Managers will continue to evaluate the repair process and make any additional adjustments before scheduling Endeavour's next launch attempt for its STS-134 mission to the International Space Station.

The STS-134 crew is back in Houston and remains in quarantine throughout as it slowly adjusts its wake and sleep schedule to match the new launch time. While at NASA's Johnson Space Center, the crew will conduct a launch and landing simulation with its ascent and entry flight control team based in Mission Control, before returning to Florida for the launch countdown.