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NASA

May 16 Now Earliest Date For Endeavour Launch 40

Posted by timothy
from the keep-your-lawnchair-handy dept.
Bad news for anyone camped out in Florida waiting to get a glimpse of the long-expected, oft-delayed launch of the shuttle Endeavour: NASA has pushed the date of the launch back, to no earlier than May 16.
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May 16 Now Earliest Date For Endeavour Launch

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  • ...from Houston, to watch it take off last week. Couldn't stay more than 10 days, and had to get back to work. Sad that it didn't launch while I could see it -- still, I'd rather it launch and recover *safely* than anything else.
    Also, there's a girl working the 7-11 at Cocoa Beach that has successfully called the scrubbed launches for *years* apparently. Maybe I should have called her before heading out east.

  • May 16 at 8:56 a.m. EDT.
    That is just before midnight in Sydney, Australia. Count me in!

    • ...NASA officials said via Twitter. Really? Twitter !?
      • by Leebert (1694) *

        Actually, NASA's Twitter feed is one of the timeliest ways to get these updates, short of watching the various news conferences on NASA TV.

        If you're trying to see a shuttle launch, the Twitter feed is indispensable. It kept me from getting on a plane at one of STS-133's many delays.

        • by Brucelet (1857158)
          And it's not just for shuttles. A lot of robotic NASA missions use twitter these days for updates. For an organization which is often trapped in the past, it's been one of their better PR trends over the last few years.
  • Not an accident. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CasualFriday (1804992) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @03:04AM (#36054958) Homepage
    I spent the first 20 years of my life on the space coast. I'd just like to say that I don't believe these delays are accidental at all. From the stories I've heard about people who work for NASA, United Space Alliance, EG&G, etc., I don't doubt for a second that the people working at KSC are extending these launches as much as possible. I was raised in Titusville, a town that HEAVILY depends on the space program and the tourism it brings. When a launch happens, the population instantly goes up from 40,000 to probably 400,000+. When a scrub happens, half of those people don't just say "oh well" and go home. They hang out for a long time. I was working at the KSC Visitor's Center when one of the launches got scrubbed in 2009. This British guy asked me how long it would be delayed and I sadly told him almost two weeks. He wasn't even phased, just immediately asked me if I knew a good extended stay hotel in the area. Now, for places like Titusville, those launch-campers pump millions of dollars into the economy every launch day, and having them hang out for two weeks is just icing.
    • by quacking duck (607555) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @08:36AM (#36055782)

      I love the irony in your title--NASA of course really would prefer this launch be "not an accident" :-)

      There may be a little bit of grandstanding involved, but NASA has been severely raked over the coals twice for not following safety procedures. One was for a relatively high-profile mission (Challenger, teacher in space), where there was a lot of pressure to launch and managers overrode or ignored engineers' warnings. Columbia, managers ignored warnings of possible damage, even overriding a request to have pictures of the wing taken by military assets in space. With the whole world watching these last missions (and this one in particular, thanks to the commander's wife being the congresswoman recovering from a point-blank shot to the head), they don't need another incident and accusations that they rushed things due to outside pressure.

      • I agree that there is extra attention paid to these, but the fact is that the ultra-absolute and ultra-safe atmosphere people would like to believe about KSC simply doesn't exist. My father was part of the crew that re-tiled the exterior of the shuttle for 25 years and he said the corners cut out there were absolutely disgusting. The phrase "good enough for government work" is a joke to a lot of the blue-collar types working on the orbiters. There seems to be a minority of people who really appreciate the f
  • There goes a $100M (Score:5, Interesting)

    by savuporo (658486) on Saturday May 07, 2011 @03:05AM (#36054962)
    Im just reposting this from elsewhere but .. as Shuttle program costs around $200M a month, this delay just cost [theonion.com] NASA around $100M. Other people have built large companies for that money ..
    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      and remember! this is 90% a PR move to show us how much we need NASA right now

    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      That's rather the whole point. I mean if your program (and by extension your job) is going to be canned after the launch, you will try to delay the launch as much as possible. I guarantee you that this will be the most meticulously planned and safest launch NASA has ever done. And that probably it won't launch in May. Depending on how tough the job market looks. Could even be next year.
  • According to these guys http://www.ebiblefellowship.com/may21/ [ebiblefellowship.com], we need to launch before the 21st.
  • ...was a place like Florida picked anyway? Why not use someplace a bit more weather neutral?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Florida is one of the states closest to the equator, saving us fuel costs on the way up into orbit by the fact that the earth rotates.

      • Hawaii is a bit closer, but it puts the mainland downrange and in danger of being hit by falling debris.. better to have it fall on Africa...

        • Hawaii is a bit closer, but it puts the mainland downrange and in danger of being hit by falling debris.

          Mainland? Have you looked at a map? Launches generally are not done north of straight east. They are done on a more southerly bearing; ideally angled south of straight east by the same angle as the latitude of the launch pad. For Hawaii, straight east would send the rocket over Mexico. Angling a little south, it would go over Honduras. If the launch were angled towards Ecuador or Columbia, then you've got more open ocean between the launch site and land than you do between Florida and Africa. Not onl

          • by Brucelet (1857158)
            Shuttle launches to the ISS are actually always done to the northeast. Orbital mechanics also permits a launch oppurtunity 12 hours later in a southdirestionction but this would take the shuttle over cuba which they want to avoid. Northeast launches also mean there are abort stations in europe in the event of a problem.,
          • by am 2k (217885)

            Why aren't you launching from Hawaii?

            My guess is because Hawaii joined the US in 1957 [wikipedia.org], but the space program got started in 1955 [wikipedia.org].

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Why aren't you launching from Hawaii?

            Because it's on the side of a big volcano and surrounded by ocean rather than connected by highways, and because it's already been bombed by a foreign power once.

            • it's already been bombed by a foreign power once.

              you have a point on the logistics (and a good enough point to put the whole debate to bed right away i might add), but the bombing thing is totally irrelevant, in this day and age anyone who doesnt like the US space program either has ICBM and cruismissiles (and the subs to deploy them right off the coast), or suicide bombers, terrorists or just simply place a bomb on a shipping container from china. Bomber ranges might have mattered in 1941, but these days Florida is just as easy a target as Hawaii, or an

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                You say that like it's true but the level of scrutiny is much higher and much more would have to be paid to Hawaii if a space program were there, so I maintain that such logistics are relevant. I also challenge the notion that everyone who doesn't like our space program has functional ICBMs. Cruise missile range is more relevant, but we have the best ones. We had better, for how much we spend on them.

                • i didnt say everyone had ICBMs, i said everyone has either ICBMs or suicide bomber. My point is that these days even a five man group with a suitably connected arms dealer could be a credible threat, and that you dont need a four carrier fleet with dive-bombers anymore.

                  Also, having the best cruise missiles doesnt mean anything in terms of defense, only in terms of retaliation.

                  Although i admit you once again have a point on the logistics, putting the same security measures in place would take more effort on

      • Not only that, but there is a big "empty" ocean for failed rockets and spent stages to fall into.
    • Where else, within the continental US?

      Can't be central--the launch path would be directly over populated areas. Occasional tornados.

      Can't be further north along the east coast--winters are longer and colder, and though earlier rockets may have fared okay the shuttle transport system is demonstrably dangerous when launching in cold weather.

      Though there were certainly political reasons for choosing Florida as the main US launch site back in the 50s and 60s, it was one of the best locations regardless.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      well you can buy that fuel bullshit, but really in the 1950s-1970's Florida was mostly swampland that you could not give away

  • by defaria (741527)
    Better get it in before 5/21 or the world will end anyway (http://goo.gl/Ywd3G)
  • After the last shuttle launch, aren't there going to be a lot of people out of a job?

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