Saturday, April 30, 2011

Troubleshooting work on Endeavour to get under way.

NASA has finished draining space shuttle Endeavour's external fuel tank and burned off any excess fuel, clearing the way for a team of technicians to begin the process of gaining access to the orbiter's aft compartment.

Technicians need access to begin the troubleshooting to determine what caused heaters on one of the auxiliary power units to fail, which forced Friday's scrub.

Endeavour is now scheduled to launch no earlier than 2:33 p.m. Monday.

The auxiliary power units supply hydraulic power to steer the shuttle's main engines in flight and control flight services and other functions during re-entry. The heaters are needed to keep the fuel lines from freezing on orbit, which could cause the fuel to expand and trigger a leak that might catch fire upon reentry.

NASA said the technicians should begin the process of accessing the orbiter by midday.

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