NASA’s final launch of the Shuttle Endeavour has been delayed after a faulty heater mechanism was discovered just hours before lift-off. Gifford’s husband Mark Kelly was in a van on the way to board when the day’s mission was scrapped.

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The final launch of Endeavour was expected to draw a record 700,000 attendees including President Obama with family, and of course, injured Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Engineers will now work over the weekend to fix the heating fault, and with a little luck it might be able to be rescheduled for Monday.

“Bummed about the scrub!! But important to make sure everything on shuttle is working properly,” Giffords’ staff tweeted after the delay.

After Endeavour’s Shuttle launch delay, Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, the captain of the NASA mission, met President Obama in the hallway and said “I bet you were hoping to see a rocket launch today.” Obama corrected: “We were hoping to see you.” The President has been very involved with the recovery of Congresswoman Giffords since the crazed shooting on Jan 8.

A close friend of Giffords, speaking on a condition of anonymity, said that the Congresswoman was hoping to stay in Florida through Monday, just in case it was a quick fix. Her husband, Mark Kelly, says he just can’t wait to get back into space on his final mission with the shuttles.

“Flying in space is a very difficult thing to give up,” Kelly said. “I’ve got to figure out a way to get back into space again.”

After NASA brings its last two shuttles back home, the official plan is to rely on commercial U.S. Space missions to continue maintenance and research in space. Four companies, Blue Origin, the Boeing Co., Sierra Nevada Corp. and SpaceX will share that responsibility. What do you think of NASA’s plans for cancelling the shuttle program? More immediately, will the shuttle launch delay cause Obama and Giffords to miss this historic launch? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section!

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