NASA announced the possible postpone of the last shuttle flights. / April 27, 2010 /
NASA said that the date of the penultimate and last shuttle flights could be postponed to a later date. On the change in the timing writes portal iTWire.
The reason for postponement of the launch was the decision to replace one component of the alpha magnetic spectrometer AMS-02, which will take into space shuttle «Endeavour» (the penultimate run STS-134). It was planned that the «Endeavour» will go to the ISS July 31, 2010, but the replacement unit may be completed no earlier than August. Due to the delay of the penultimate flight will endure and last launch of the shuttle (now planned for September 2010).
AMS-02 is designed, inter alia, to search for dark matter and antimatter. One of the important parts of the device is a powerful magnet. It was planned that in the AMS-2002 will include a superconducting magnet capable of producing more powerful magnetic field than conventional magnets. The superconducting magnet operates at temperatures close to absolute zero temperature (minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), and for its cooling using liquid helium. Conventional magnets do not require refrigeration and can therefore operate much longer. It is from these considerations, the experts that supervise the development of AMS-02, decided to replace the superconducting magnet on the usual.
After the shuttle mission, American astronauts will fly to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz. Until February 2010 NASA developed the program «Constellation», which had to be created new spacecraft, Orion and the launch vehicles «Ares». After the refusal of «Constellations» The U.S. has made a bet on private companies, which will be engaged in the construction of a new space transportation.
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