Endeavour Launch Delayed a Week

Astronauts are leaving NASA's beach house to return to Houston

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The astronauts waiting to blast off in the space shuttle Endeavour will have to wait at least another week, and won't get to pass the time in the NASA beach house we told you about on Friday. Over the weekend, engineers determined that the problem with a crucial heating unit was more complicated than they had thought, so they put off the launch until May 8, and sent the astronauts back to Houston.

The problem with the heating system lies not with a simple thermostat malfunction, as NASA officials had hoped, but with a much more complicated power control box called the aft load control assembly-2, according to Space.com's Clara Moskowitz. The heaters are crucial for preventing the fuel that powers the shuttle's hydraulic system from freezing. Now, the launch will be pushed back to follow a May 6 launch of an Air Force Atlas 5 rocket carrying a surveilance satelite.

Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who traveled to Kennedy Space Center to watch her husband, Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, and the crew he commands, blast off into space, went with the astronauts to Houston. The Orlando Sentinel relayed a message from Giffords: "Team Giffords had an easy flight back to Houston today. Gabby will have a couple days of good therapy with Angie, Lisa, Kelly, Dawn and the wonderful crew at TIRR Memorial Hermann. Then back to FL for the launch!"

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