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Emsworth native's space shuttle mission pushed to April 29

| Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A scheduling glitch has pushed back the launch date for NASA's Endeavour voyage, on which Emsworth native Mike Fincke is serving as mission specialist.

NASA has moved the launch for Endeavour's STS-134 mission to the afternoon of April 29 due to a conflict with a Russian Progress supply vehicle.

Endeavour previously was scheduled to take off April 19. This will be Endeavour's last voyage and next to last for the entire 30-year shuttle program.

The Endeavour mission is being led by Fincke's colleague and friend, Commander Mark Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot Jan. 8 in Tucson, Ariz., while meeting with constituents outside a supermarket.

Giffords is undergoing rehab in Houston. Kelly, who rejoined the mission in March, has said he hopes his wife can attend the launch.

Fincke, a Sewickley Academy graduate, has said challenges facing the mission have not stopped the crew from working together "extremely well."

"I'm very proud of the entire system," he said. "The crew took up the slack so Mark could have time with his wife. As soon as he came back, we haven't missed a beat."

Severe storms hit NASA's Kennedy Space Center last week, causing minor damage to Endeavour's external tank foam insulation.

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