14 July : Heavy clouds near the Kennedy Space Center forced NASA to call off launch of the space shuttle Endeavour on a mission to deliver a Japanese-built porch to the International Space Station. The launch was rescheduled for 6:51 p.m. EDT 0421 hrs IST on Monday.
It was the fourth delay of Endeavour’s flight. Two launch attempts last month were scuttled by hydrogen fuel leaks and a third try on Saturday ended when NASA ordered checks of the shuttle’s electrical systems following a spate of lightning strikes at the launch pad on Friday.
The clouds moved into the area less than an hour before Endeavour’s scheduled 7:13 pm EDT (2313 GMT) launch on Sunday, with the seven astronauts strapped into their seats and the ship loaded with 500,000 gallons (1.9 million litres) of fuel to blast it into orbit.
Endeavour’s primary cargo is a porch for Japan’s 2.4 billion dollar Kibo laboratory complex on the space station.The platform can be used to expose experiments to the open environment of space.
The shuttle also is carrying replacement batteries for the solar-powered station and spare parts that will be needed to keep the outpost operational after the U.S. shuttle fleet is retired next year.