A day after the death of a technician working on the space shuttle Endeavour, NASA and United Space Alliance are getting back to work.
Yesterday morning, a United Space Alliance technician, James D. Vanover, fell to his death while working atop NASA Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39. It's the launch pad for the space shuttle Endeavour, which is set to launch on April 19. After the man fell, Endeavour workers immediately halted their operations. Vanover was a contractor at the KSC for two decades, and had spent several years with United Space Alliance as an engineer. Vanover was one of 500 employees to be laid off after the shuttle program is discontinued.
United Space Alliance declined to comment on the matter but CEO Virginia Barnes released a statement of condolences to the family. NASA has launched an investigation of the incident.
This morning, NASA and United Space Alliance managers met with pad workers who expressed a desire to continue shuttle processing following the unexpected death of a co-worker at the pad Monday morning, NASA said on its website.
NASA said crews will perform checks on the power reactant storage distribution system, or PRSD, and the external fuel tank's camera. PRSD holds super-cold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for use by the shuttle's three fuel cells to produce electricity during flight. They combine the chemicals to generate electricity.
The Endeavour mission will be the final one for the space shuttle. It will last 14 days. The crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, spare parts for Dextre and micrometeoroid debris shields.
The shuttle has been notable because the commander will be Mark Kelly, husband of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In January, Giffords was shot by Jared Lee Loughner in an attempted assassination.
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