Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Space shuttle 'Endeavour' takes off on sixth try

The shuttle Endeavour heads to space Wednesday after blasting off from Kennedy Space Center.

Getty Images

The shuttle Endeavour heads to space Wednesday after blasting off from Kennedy Space Center.

CAPE CANAVERAL — On its sixth try, the space shuttle Endeavour managed liftoff at 6:03 p.m. on Wednesday.

The launch means the Endeavour didn't make the record books for the most number of scrubbed attempts. Those were in 1995 and 1986, when it took seven tries to get off the ground. In 1986, Bill Nelson, who now represents Florida in the Senate, and Charlie Bolden, Barack Obama's nominee to lead NASA, were on board.

This mission, originally scheduled for flight last month, was delayed three times because of bad weather and twice because of hydrogen fuel leaks.

Each delay costs about $1 million for fuel and employee overtime, said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel. But the cost can easily be absorbed by the $3.6 billion budgeted for five shuttle missions in the 2009 fiscal year.

"It just means you can't use that money somewhere down the line," he said.

Astronaut Mark Polansky registered his thoughts on the repeated delays via Twitter.

"Scrubs aren't fun," he wrote at 10 p.m. Sunday, a few hours after the crew climbed out of the shuttle. "I've been in this situation before. You just have to roll with it."

At 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, he wrote: "Hope the next tweet is from orbit."

By 4 p.m., the seven astronauts were strapped into the shuttle and ready to head to the International Space Station while NASA weather experts monitored storms in the area.

But none came close enough to delay the launch.

During the 16-day mission that includes five space walks, astronauts will install a platform outside the space station that's part of Japan's Kibo laboratory. The so-called front porch will allow experiments that require direct exposure to space. The platform can hold 10 experiments at a time. A robotic arm will transfer experiments to and from the platform from inside the shuttle, reducing the need for space walks.

The seven-member team on the Endeavour will join six resident astronauts on the space station. It will be the largest number of people on board the craft at the same time.

Janet Zink can be reached at jzink@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3401.

Space shuttle 'Endeavour' takes off on sixth try 07/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series puts Florida Gators in elite company

    Blogs

    With Tuesday night's College World Series win, the Florida Gators put themselves in rare company.

    Florida celebrates after defeating LSU in Game 2 of the College World Series finals, Tuesday, in Omaha, Neb.
  2. Pinellas sees spike in infant deaths from unsafe sleeping, and advocates are concerned

    Health

    The reports from the Department of Children and Families are tragic: A Pinellas County mother falls asleep on a recliner during an early morning feeding and wakes to find one of her 3-month-old twins unresponsive. Another finds her 6-month-old daughter lying still, a blanket over her head. Another infant is found wedged …

    Advocates are looking to step up their public information efforts this year after reports show a spike in sleep-related infant deaths in Pinellas County. [iStockphoto.com]
  3. Kellyanne Conway warns of health care spin, but then delivers her own in Miami

    Blogs

    On the same day that Senate Republicans were forced to delay a vote on their healthcare legislation because not enough of them wanted to vote for it, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway defended the bill in Miami.

    White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway is welcomed by state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-District 105, at the Miami-Dade GOP’s Lincoln Day fundraiser on Tuesday night.
  4. Sign up for our new daily News at Noon email newsletter

    News

    The Tampa Bay Times will soon launch a daily newsletter called News at Noon. You can make sure to be among the first to receive it by signing up now.

  5. New poll shows tight St. Pete mayor's race

    Blogs

    A new poll shows a tight race between former mayor Rick Baker and Mayor Rick Kriseman, currently engaged in the most expensive mayoral race in St. Petersburg history. 

    Former Mayor Rick Baker answers a question during the mayoral candidate forum at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Tuesday. Mayor Rick Kriseman is in the foreground.