NASA Hopes To Launch Shuttle Monday - InformationWeek

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NASA Hopes To Launch Shuttle Monday

Sunday's weather foils Endeavour liftoff for second straight day.

NASA scrubbed the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour Sunday, the second straight day the mission to the International Space Station was canceled.

Ground controllers at the space agency determined that thunderstorms in the area of Florida's Kennedy Space Center posed too great a threat for a safe launch this evening.

The mission was officially scrubbed a 7:03 pm Eastern time.

NASA said it would again attempt to launch Endeavour on Monday, with the launch window opening at 6:51 pm. Sunday's launch was canceled "due to weather in the vicinity that affected not only launch, but return to launch site abort," said Shuttle Launch Control.

The mission, officially known as STS-127, has been plagued by problems. Initially scheduled for a June launch, it was placed on hold for weeks due to hydrogen gas leaks in Endeavour's external fuel tank.

STS-127 is a 16-day mission that will see the Endeavour crew work to complete construction of Japan's Kibo space laboratory. The astronauts will add a porch-like platform to the lab's exterior that will allow experiments to be exposed to the vacuum of outer space.

The crew has an international flair. Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette will be aboard the shuttle. Also part of the seven-member crew is American Timothy Kopra, who will replace Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata—in space since March--upon arrival at the ISS.

NASA is expected to phase out the space shuttle program starting next year. Plans call for the development of an Apollo-style rocket and capsule system, dubbed Ares and Orion, to replace the orbiter. Obama officials, however, have recently raised questions about the plan's cost and practicality.

NASA will begin live Web coverage of Monday's shuttle lift-off attempt starting at 1:30 pm.

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