[Updated at 5:19 p.m.] SpaceX's unmanned Dragon cargo capsule suffered a temporary glitch with its thrusters after it achieved orbit Friday – a development that will delay its arrival at the International Space Station, NASA said.
The Dragon, launched Friday morning atop SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, had been expected to dock with the space station on Saturday to resupply the station's crew.
But Friday's hiccup will delay docking by at least a day, NASA said.
The Dragon is carrying more than 1,200 pounds of supplies for the crew and the crew's experiments. The supply mission is SpaceX's second of a planned 12 under a contract with NASA.
Encased in 16,000 square feet of shrink-wrap, Space Shuttle Atlantis sits in the middle of a working construction site at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The plastic coating was placed on the orbiter to protect it from dust and dirt during construction.
“We want to make sure that it is safe," said Tim Macy, director of project development and construction. Macy and colleagues had 95% of the work done above Atlantis before the shuttle rolled in, “so we really reduced the risk of dropping anything on her.”
Atlantis was the last NASA space shuttle to go into space, and the last to be brought to its museum-style resting place this year. Its landing on July 21, 2011, marked the end of NASA's space shuttle program.
There's a lot of excitement surrounding the "Transit of Venus," even though this rare astronomical event will yield little scientific value.
On Tuesday, Venus will cross the face of the sun. The transit will take about seven hours and begin at 6:09 p.m. EDT.
The next time Venus journeys across the sun will be in the year 2117, says Jack Lissauer, Kepler Mission co-investigator and planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research.
"This is the last chance for almost everybody unless we have huge medical advances," Lissauer says.
The Mars Science Laboratory’s rover Curiosity is scheduled to launch Saturday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Curiosity with its capability to detect signs of life will be the most sophisticated vehicle ever sent to Mars. The journey to the red planet is not the only event that is creating excitement on Florida’s space coast this week.
The Vehicle Assembly building, where space shuttles and Saturn five moon rockets were assembled, is now open to the public.
"This is a very special and unique opportunity," says John Stine, KSC Visitor Complex director of sales and marketing. "(The VAB) has been closed for over 30 years."
Touring this building, which has been closed to the public since 1978, may not be the highlight, even if it is one of the tallest buildings in the world.
"It's a great bonus to come in, not only to be in awe of the inside of this facility," says Stine, "but then seeing Endeavour being prepared for its trip out West."
The trip is scheduled to take place in late 2012, when the orbiter will be moved to a public display at the California Science Center. Until the move visitors taking the KSC Up- Close tour will enter the VAB and see Endeavour as it is being prepped for its west coast retirement.