Endeavour Launches Into Night, Set to Expand Space Station

Mar 11, 2008
Endeavour Launches Into Night, Set to Expand Space Station
Space shuttle Endeavour lifts off its launch pad at 2:28 a.m. EDT to start the STS-123 mission to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann

Space shuttle Endeavour thundered into orbit early Tuesday morning carrying seven astronauts and Japan's dreams for a space-based laboratory at the International Space Station.

Space shuttle Endeavour brought an early sunrise to the East Coast Tuesday, launching from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 2:28 a.m. EDT and beginning the STS-123 mission to the International Space Station.

"This is a great launch and a real tribute to the team to get it ready to go fly," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations.

During the 16-day flight, Endeavour's seven astronauts will work with the three-member space station crew and ground teams around the world to install the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robotic system, known as Dextre. STS-123 is the longest shuttle mission to the station and will include a record five shuttle spacewalks at the orbiting laboratory, delivery of a new crew member to the complex and the return of another astronaut after nearly seven weeks aboard the station.

Shortly before launch, Commander Gorie thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible. "You've got seven smiling faces on board here," said Gorie. "God's truly blessed us with a beautiful night to launch so let's light 'em up and give them a show."

Joining Gorie on STS-123 are Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Rick Linnehan, Garrett Reisman and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Takao Doi. Reisman will replace current station crew member Léopold Eyharts, who has lived on the outpost since early February. Reisman will return to Earth on shuttle Discovery's STS-124 mission, targeted for launch on May 25, 2008.

Endeavour's cargo will help continue the station's assembly. The Japanese Experiment Logistics Module-Pressurized Section, or ELM-PS, will hold experiment samples, maintenance tools and other spare items. Dextre can be attached to the station's robotic arm to handle smaller components typically requiring a spacewalking astronaut. At the tip of each arm is a "hand" that consists of retractable jaws used to grip objects.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Close encounters: Comet siding spring seen next to mars

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Retired shuttle paired with space lab (Update)

Oct 10, 2014

The space shuttle Endeavour has been paired once again with a space lab and storage pod it used on some missions, as the countdown to its final exhibit continues at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

The case for a mission to Mars' moon Phobos

Oct 02, 2014

Ask any space enthusiast, and almost anyone will say humankind's ultimate destination is Mars. But NASA is currently gearing up to go to an asteroid. While the space agency says its Asteroid Initiative will ...

Recommended for you

Close encounters: Comet siding spring seen next to mars

28 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 ...

Beastly sunspot amazes, heightens eclipse excitement

6 hours ago

That's one big, black blemish on the Sun today! Rarely have we been witness to such an enormous sunspot. Lifting the #14 welder's glass to my eyes this morning I about jumped back and bumped into the garage.

The formation and development of desert dunes on Titan

7 hours ago

Combining climate models and observations of the surface of Titan from the Cassini probe, a team from the AIM Astrophysics Laboratory (CNRS / CEA / Paris Diderot University) , in collaboration with researchers ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nano999
not rated yet Mar 11, 2008
It's absurd that we're still using this archaic method for blasting people into space. Get off your butts NASA and come up with something for the 21st century.