Friday, July 2, 2010

NASA postpones the final two launches of the space shuttle program

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NASA announced on Thursday that the final two missions of the space shuttle program have been delayed till November and February because of delays related to the preparation of the last spare-parts load to the International Space Station (ISS).

According to the new launch plan disclosed by NASA managers, space shuttle Discovery's launch on a cargo re-supply mission has been postponed from September to November 1; and the space shuttle program's final mission - involving Endeavor's hauling of the $1.5 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector to the ISS - has now been re-scheduled for February 26.

Since the last flight of the shuttle program will result in the lay off of thousands of shuttle workers, the change in schedule of the final two flights will help some of the workers hold on to their jobs for another three months.

NASA has refrained from disclosing any other reason - other than the delay in getting the equipments to be carried to the ISS - for the changed scheduledof the final lap of the shuttle program.

Nonetheless, another probable reason behind the move is that s number of spacecraft launches have been scheduled at Cape Canaveral, Florida, for 2010-end.

In a statement, NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said: "There's a lot of what I call highway traffic around the station; it ultimately made the most sense to pick November 1" for Discovery's last flight.

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