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.