Launch of Endeavour Shuttle Postponed Hours Before Liftoff

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Taken just <em>before</em> they heard the mission was scrubbed.
Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

NASA was compelled to postpone the launch of the shuttle Endeavour today, a mere four hours before its scheduled liftoff. Officials say a delay of at least three days is needed to fix heaters that are used in the equipment that powers both the movement of both the shuttle’s engines and the flaps during the shuttle's ride into space. The crowd of hundreds of thousands — gathered to witness what was supposed to be the second-to-last takeoff in the shuttle program — were frustrated. On her doctors' permission, Gabrielle Giffords was also in attendance to witness her husband, mission commander Mark E. Kelly. No word yet on whether the state of her recovery will permit her to attend the new launch date, which would occur Monday at the earliest. [NYT]