Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station (ISS) has been set for May 30 on a flight that will bring to a close the longest stay yet aboard the complex for a resident crew.
Endeavour's liftoff on mission STS-111 will occur sometime between 4 and 8 p.m. EDT. A precise time will be announced about 24 hours prior to liftoff. In addition to exchanging station crews, Endeavour's multinational mission will attach a Canadian-built mobile base system to the station that will enable the Canadarm2 robotic arm to move along a railway on the station's truss to build and maintain the outpost. Endeavour's crew -- representing three different countries -- also will replace a faulty joint on the station's robotic arm and unload almost three tons of experiments and supplies from the Italian-built Leonardo logistics carrier, making its third visit to the station aboard the shuttle.
"The team has done a great job preparing this flight and accommodating a major addition to this mission's content that came only last month -- the replacement of a joint on the station's robotic arm," Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore said. "The capability to plan, train and prepare equipment for such a complex new task in only a few extra weeks demonstrates the flexibility required for support of the station. Thanks to those efforts, Endeavour is ready to go."
The International Space Station's Expedition Four crew, Commander Yury Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan Bursch and Carl Walz, on the station since Dec. 7, 2001, will return to Earth aboard Endeavour. The Expedition Five crew, Commander Valery Korzun and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Sergei Treschev, will arrive at the complex aboard Endeavour, beginning a four-month stay.
Ken Cockrell will command Endeavour, and Paul Lockhart (Lt. Col. USAF) will serve as pilot. Mission specialists will be Franklin Chang-Diaz (Ph.D.) and French Space Agency astronaut Philippe Perrin (Col., French Air Force). Chang-Diaz and Perrin will conduct three spacewalks to install the new robotics mobile-base system and replace the faulty arm wrist/roll joint. Chang-Diaz will be making a record-tying seventh flight aboard the Space Shuttle.
Endeavour is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., on June 11. STS-111 marks the 18th flight for Endeavour and the 110th in Space Shuttle history.
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