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Shuttle launch delayed until Wednesday

So far so good, but storms a possibility

When space shuttle Endeavour eventually takes off, it will be the 14th flight to the international space station.  

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- A longer-than-anticipated repair of a faulty nitrogen gas regulator led NASA mission managers Sunday to delay a launch of the space shuttle Endeavour until Wednesday. It marked the fourth delay for the shuttle.

A NASA statement blamed the delay on "the uniqueness of the changeover and the work to build a test fixture required."

The task of replacing the regulator had not begun by Sunday afternoon, NASA spokesman Bill Johnson said, because of difficulties with the testing apparatus. Engineers were having difficulty gathering the components of the testing apparatus because it was a weekend.

Replacement of the part was scheduled to be completed Monday.

CNN's Miles O'Brien talks to crew members of the shuttle Endeavour about their upcoming mission (May 28)

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Our Endeavour mission guide  has crew bios, a mission timeline and more.

The regulator is in the shuttle's orbital maneuvering system, or OMS pod, and is a critical component, said CNN Space Correspondent Miles O'Brien.

Engineers had detected what they thought was a temporary problem with the regulator during countdown Friday afternoon before stormy weather led them to scrub a planned launch.

The regulator was reset and the problem considered solved, Johnson said. But over-pressurization recurred during tests Friday night.

"The prudent decision was to replace it," he said.

The replacement does not require that the rocket be removed from the launch pad.

Crew swap

Wednesday's launch window will be between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. So far, the weather looks good for launch, Johnson said, but noted that afternoon storms were always a possibility in Florida at this time of year.

Friday's delay was caused by predictions of thunderstorms, and was the second cancellation in two days for the shuttle, which is scheduled to make the 14th flight to the international space station.

Once there, it is to deliver the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module and exchange the seven-person crews.

The Associated Press reported that the space station crew took the news of the latest delay in stride. Americans Daniel Bursch and Carl Walz and their Russian commander, Yuri Onufrienko, already have spent six months in orbit and are close to setting a U.S. space endurance record. Endeavour is their ride home.



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