'Endeavour' stays grounded until part is replaced

The space shuttle Endeavour's final launch has been delayed until at least the end of the week because technicians need to replace a crucial component, Nasa said yesterday.

The six astronauts – led by commander Mark Kelly –headed back to Houston. Mr Kelly's wife, the US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, did not join the astronauts in flying back.

Nasa gave up on hopes of a possible launch yesterday once it became clear that extensive repairs would be needed. The trouble prevented the shuttle from blasting off on Friday. The shuttle flight – the second-to-last ever – has attracted intense interest because of Ms Giffords, who was shot in the head nearly four months ago.