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Forum:Space Shuttles - Space Station
Topic:STS-134: Readying Endeavour for its final flight
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Robert Pearlman
STS-134 payload loaded into Endeavour's cargo bay

The payload for Endeavour's 25th and final mission arrived at Pad 39A on March 21 and was installed into the orbiter's cargo bay four days later.

Technicians moved the payload, which includes the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and Express Logistics Carrier-3 (ELC-3), from the canister used to transport it to the pad into the payload ground handling mechanism. The rotating service structure was then rotated back around Endeavour to load the payload components into the bay.

Installation of the AMS was briefly delayed due to an alignment issue with its remotely operated electrical umbilical, which provides heating and avionics power to the experiment.

Credit: NASA/Cory Huston
Robert Pearlman
STS-134 crew arrives for practice launch countdown

Endeavour's six astronauts arrived at NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility in four T-38 jets between 5:07 p.m. and 5:24 p.m. EDT March 29. The crew is in Florida for their week-long launch dress rehearsal, called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test, or TCDT.

The mock-countdown will offer the astronauts and ground crews an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training.

Later on Tuesday, STS-134 commander Mark Kelly and pilot Greg H. Johnson will practice shuttle landings in shuttle training aircraft.

Robert Pearlman

Robert Pearlman
Endeavour's external tank sustains minor damage from severe storms

The severe weather that hit NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., this week caused delays to shuttle Endeavour's launch dress rehearsal and left minor damage to the vehicle's external fuel tank.

Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

Strong wind, rain and lightning kept teams off of Pad 39A, prevented them from conducting a thorough survey of Endeavour and the pad following Wednesday's strong storm that passed through the region.

No one was injured and initial assessments indicate there was only some minor foam insulation damage to Endeavour's external tank. No other obvious damage has been seen, but the team's survey, which picked up again on Friday, will verify there is no additional damage.

The U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron reported that during the storm the pad briefly saw sustained 57 mph wind (50 knots), with a peak gust of 90 mph (79 knots). Small hail was spotted near the pad, and there was a lightning strike recorded about a half mile from the pad's center.

Again, there was no indication of damage from the strike, but that will be assessed by the teams during their on-going pad walkdown.

Robert Pearlman
NASA retargets Endeavour's launch for April 29

Following discussions among the International Space Station (ISS) partners on Sunday, NASA has retargeted the launch of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission from April 19 to to 3:47 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 29.

The delay removes a scheduling conflict with a Russian Progress supply vehicle scheduled to launch April 27 and arrive at the station April 29.

NASA managers will hold a Flight Readiness Review on Tuesday, April 19, to assess the team's readiness to support launch. An official launch date will be selected at the conclusion of the meeting.

Robert Pearlman
Additional day added to STS-134 mission

Shuttle managers have officially added an additional day to space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission making it a 15-day flight. With launch targeted on April 29, landing at Kennedy's Space Shuttle Landing Facility would be on Saturday, May 14 at 9:51 a.m. EDT.

The extra day will be put in after Flight Day 9 as a new Flight Day 10 to accommodate work on the U.S. carbon dioxide removal system and other International Space Station tasks.

The Flight Readiness Review for Endeavour's flight to the space station will be held on Tuesday, April 19. NASA managers will announce the official launch date during a briefing at the conclusion of the meeting.

Robert Pearlman
NASA sets launch date for space shuttle Endeavour mission

Space shuttle commander Mark Kelly and his five crewmates are scheduled to begin a 14-day mission to the International Space Station with a launch at 3:47 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 29, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The STS-134 mission is shuttle Endeavour's final scheduled flight.

The launch date was announced Tuesday at the conclusion of a flight readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle and station's equipment, support systems and personnel are ready.

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