Shuttle Launch Scrubbed for Fifth Time
Bad weather at the Kennedy Space Center was the cause for today's decision to hold the Space Shuttle Endeavour on the ground for a bit longer. This is the fifth time that this mission has been put on hold, initially it was due to technical problems back in June. But in the last few days it's been rough weather and lightning strikes.
The 16-day mission, when it does finally get off the ground, will feature five spacewalks and will complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Astronauts will attach a platform to the outside of the Japanese module that will allow experiments to be exposed to space.
The STS-127 crew members are Commander Mark Polansky, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Dave Wolf, Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette. Kopra will join the space station crew and replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. Wakata will return to Earth on Endeavour to conclude a three-month stay at the station.
"Scrubs aren't fun, and I've been in this situation before," said Endeavour commander Mark Polansky late Sunday via Twitter, where he is chronicling the mission as @Astro_127. "You just have to roll with it."
Endeavour has until tomorrow to launch before it must pull back and allow for an unmanned Russian cargo ship to dock at the space station.
If the mission does not get off the ground in time to beat the Russian launch, NASA may negotiate with the Russians for more time, or the space agency could choose to wait until the shuttle's launch window opens up again on July 27.