Space Shuttle Endeavour launch held up by space traffic jam.
Endeavour is scheduled to launch a day later than previously planned on its visit to the International Space Station, to make room for an unmanned cargo ship.
The slight flight delay for Endeavour will clear the way for the European Space Agency to launch an unmanned cargo ship – the Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 – toward the station. That launch, originally planned for December, is now tapped for Feb. 15, with docking at the orbital outpost slated for Feb. 26. Endeavour would then launch the next day and, if all goes as planned, arrive at the station on Feb. 28.
Blowin’ your space horn won’t speed things up!
It will be a busy time in space, and that, in part, is because of an earlier bunching of planned flights at the end of this year. ESA officials agreed to push back the ATV-2 launch to February because of delays from the commercial Arianespace company, which builds the Ariane 5 rocket planned to carry ATV-2 to orbit.
The mission is the second flight of Europe’s new unmanned space freighter series. The first ATV, Jules Verne, completed a successful cargo-delivery trip to the space station in 2008.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Space Agency will continue to ferry cosmonauts and astronauts to the station on Soyuz flights during this time. An Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket is also scheduled to loft the NASA Glory climate satellite to orbit Feb. 23.
The shuttle Endeavour will be making its last trip to space to deliver a nearly $2 billion cosmic ray particle physics detector to study fundamental physics and cosmology questions. Astronauts will take three spacewalks to install the experiment on the outside of the space station.
On photo above, an external fuel tank is transported September 28 to the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor.