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November 30, 2001

Dwayne Brown
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-1726)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: H01-237

Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour Reset for Tuesday, Dec. 4

International Space Station and Space Shuttle managers have rescheduled the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour to Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. EST from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The long-range weather forecast indicates favorable conditions for launch.

The new date will allow sufficient time for a spacewalk to clear an apparent obstruction in a docking mechanism on the International Space Station's Zvezda module. This apparent obstruction is believed to be preventing hooks and latches from fully engaging to secure a Russian Progress supply vehicle to its docking port.

The decision to reschedule was jointly made after Russian and American flight controllers conducted an extensive review of the amount of work required to complete the mating of the Progress to the station.

In order to prepare for an expected four-hour spacewalk by Expedition Three crewmembers Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin, beginning Monday morning about 8:30 EST, the crew, including Commander Frank Culbertson, will adjust its sleep schedule to match times during which the complex flies over Russian ground communication sites -- a safety requirement. The spacewalk will be carried on NASA TV beginning at 8 a.m. EST Monday. A countdown-status press briefing will be carried on NASA TV as soon as practical following the spacewalk.

This sleep-shifting currently does not match the schedule of the arriving shuttle and Expedition Four crews, which is required for the weeklong joint operations to transfer some 6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms) of supplies to the station and to the shuttle, in addition to swapping command from Expedition Three to Expedition Four.

The decision to launch Endeavour Tuesday will allow both the shuttle- and station-crew sleep schedules to properly align. The decision also allows station managers to assess the results of the spacewalk and allow launch controllers at Kennedy to replenish power reactants aboard Endeavour that would provide the flexibility for an additional day of joint operations at the station, if necessary.

The shuttle crew of Commander Dom Gorie (Capt., USN), Pilot Mark Kelly (Lt. Cdr, USN) and Mission Specialists Linda Godwin (Ph.D.) and Dan Tani will deliver the Expedition Four crew of Commander Yuri Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch (Capt., USN) and Carl Walz (Col., USAF) to the station for a five-month stay aboard the complex, orbiting 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the Earth.

The seven crewmembers will remain at Kennedy reviewing mission-training plans and timelines, and spending time with their families prior to Tuesday's launch. Gorie and Kelly will conduct Shuttle Training Aircraft flights tonight and Sunday to maintain proficiency for landing.

The countdown clock for Endeavour's launch will remain in the T minus 11 hour hold until 2:47 a.m. EST Tuesday. Fueling of the shuttle's external fuel tank will start at approximately 7:45 a.m. EST Tuesday and NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 12:30 p.m. EST. A December 4 launch will provide for a landing of Endeavour on December 15 at approximately 1:30 p.m. EST.

The Kennedy Space Center press site will be closed Saturday and Sunday. Hours of operation Monday are from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to midnight.

 

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