Endeavour APU Issue Testing Under Way

Teams at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A are testing various systems in space shuttle Endeavour to determine the cause of the heater issue associated with auxiliary power unit-1 (APU-1).

Technicians gained access to the spacecraft earlier this afternoon. They were able to confirm the cockpit control fuse panel is working.

Teams began testing thermostats associated with the heater connected to the fuel line for the APU. Initial reports indicate the thermostat side that failed during Friday’s launch countdown still is not working, as expected. Teams will continue additional testing to help determine whether the thermostat is receiving a current or whether the issue is being caused by another part of the system. Managers are not expected to decide until Sunday morning, at the earliest, whether a launch attempt on Monday is possible.

Flight Dynamics at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston has refined the target launch time for Monday to 2:34:00 p.m. EDT.

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Cheap technology puts exploration within reach of amateur rocketeers

As hundreds of spectators in VIP seats, on rooftops and along beaches gathered to watch space shuttle Discovery's final launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 24, another observer watched from a vantage point 33 kilometres above the Earth.

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Teams Expected to Access Endeavour by Midday

Technicians at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A have drained space shuttle Endeavour’s external fuel tank of more than 500,000 gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Excess fuel was boiled off and teams are ensuring any remaining hazardous gasses are vented out. Technicians expect to begin the processes of accessing Endeavour’s aft by midday, in order to look at a fuel line heater associated with the auxiliary power unit (APU) system, which caused a scrub of yesterday’s STS-134 launch attempt. APUs generate hydraulic power to throttle and gimbal main engines and move the aerosurfaces.

Launch now is planned for no earlier than Monday, May 2 at 2:33 p.m. EDT.

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Teams expected to access Endeavour by midday

Technicians at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pad 39A have drained space shuttle Endeavour’s external fuel tank of more than 500,000 gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Excess fuel was boiled off and teams are ensuring any remaining hazardous gasses are vented out. Technicians expect to begin the processes of accessing Endeavour’s aft by midday, in order to look at a fuel line heater associated with the auxiliary power unit (APU) system, which caused a scrub of yesterday’s STS-134 launch attempt. APUs generate hydraulic power to throttle and gimbal main engines and move the aerosurfaces.



Launch now is planned for no earlier than Monday, May 2 at 2:33 p.m. EDT.

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Command mourns loss of cyberspace Airman killed in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense announced today the death of Capt. Charles A. Ransom, a cyberspace Airman assigned to the 83rd Network Operations Squadron, located at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

He died April 27 at the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan of wounds suffered from gunfire while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. The captain was deployed to Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 83rd NOS, a part of the 67th Network Warfare Wing, one of the three operational wings of the 24th Air Force.
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Endeavour Post-scrub Briefing

A news conference was held in the Press Site auditorium at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida following the scrub of space shuttle Endeavour's launch today due to an issue with auxiliary power unit (APU) heaters.

While the management team discussed the APU heater issue earlier this afternoon, President Barack Obama was touring Kennedy with his family and spoke with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wife of STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly, also here to watch the launch, according to Kennedy Center Director Bob Cabana.

Mission Management Team Chair and Shuttle Launch Integration Manager, Mike Moses explained the importance of the APU heaters that keep the hydrazine fuel from freezing in orbit. There are two heaters on APU 1 and both are required for operations. "It was pretty straight-forward scrub today," said Moses. "The team made a very good call."

Shuttle Launch Director, Mike Leinbach explained that the thermostat that controls the heater didn't kick on when it was called to do so.

Once the external fuel tank is drained and safe to work around, which takes about 24 hours, technicians will be able to access the aft of the shuttle. By Saturday night, they should be able to start the troubleshooting process.

The next launch attempt for Endeavour is no earlier than Monday at 2:33 p.m. EDT depending on the results of Saturday's analysis. There will be a launch team meeting this weekend to assess the data that is accumulated and then a determination will be made for the next step in preparing Endeavour for its final flight, the STS-134 mission to the International Space Station.

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Engineers and Managers to Assess APU Issue

Shuttle launch director Mike Leinbach stated that Endeavour's launch will be no earlier than Monday at 2:33 p.m. EDT. Engineers need that time to troubleshoot an issue that resulted in today’s launch scrub.

During today’s countdown, engineers detected a failure in one of two heater circuits associated with Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) 1. Heaters are required to keep the APUs’ hydrazine from freezing on orbit. Attempts to activate the heater were not successful and engineers now believe the problem might be associated with a Load Control Assembly, which is a switchbox, located in the aft end of Endeavour, or an electrical short in the wires leading into or out of the switchbox.

Endeavour’s external tank will be drained, technicians will enter Endeavour’s aft compartment overnight and by tomorrow afternoon, will put in a platform to gain access to the avionics bay where the Load Control Assembly is located. Once there, they will assess whether they need to remove and replace the switchbox, or fix an electrical wiring short.

Because of this, Leinbach said there will be a minimum 72-hour scrub turnaround.

Engineers and managers will meet this afternoon to further refine their troubleshooting plan. NASA has scheduled a news conference at no earlier than 4:30 p.m. to discuss today’s scrub and the plan and will be aired on NASA TV (www.nasa.gov/ntv).

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