Penultimate shuttle launch delayed until at least May 16

The space shuttle Endeavour will blast off to the International Space Station on its final mission no earlier than Monday, May 16, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

“NASA managers met Friday afternoon and determined space shuttle Endeavour will launch no earlier than Monday, May 16 at 8:56 a.m. EDT. [12:56 GMT],” the U.S. space agency said. “This weekend, technicians will continue to repair and retest electrical circuitry that caused a postponement of Endeavour’s April 29 launch attempt.”

During Endeavour’s final 14 days in space it will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas and a high-pressure gas tank to the ISS.

After Endeavour, Atlantis is due to perform the final space shuttle mission in June and July.

Once the shuttle fleet is retired, Russian Soyuz craft will be the only way for astronauts to reach the International Space Station until at least the middle of the decade. NASA is paying its Russian counterpart Roscosmos more than $1 billion for crew transport services over the next four year.

MOSCOW, May 6 (RIA Novosti)

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