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Commander Dom Gorie, Pilot Greg Johnson and Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, Bob Behnken, Mike Foreman, Garrett Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi are looking to rocket into orbit on March 11 aboard space shuttle Endeavour on the STS123 mission.
Before they can do that, though, they have to practice.
That's why they flew to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for intense launch training on February 23 to the 25th.
The seven climbed into the same orange suits they will wear on launch day and took a ride in the Astrovan to Launch Pad 39A.
They crawled into Endeavour's hatch and took their places. The emphasis is on doing the same things they will do on the real launch day, so technicians were on hand to strap them in and remove equipment covers, just as they will for the ride into orbit.
The session also included something they hope doesn't happen on launch day: getting out of the space shuttle during a potential emergency.
The crew ran across the deck and climbed inside baskets that would zip them to safety in an unlikely real-life crisis.
Crew members also practiced driving armored personnel carriers called M113s that would be called on in an emergency.
The astronauts looked over the Kibo lab segment and Dextre as they stood inside Endeavour's cargo bay.
For Gorie and Johnson, who will be at the controls of Endeavour during launch and landing, the practice reached into the skies above Kennedy.
Both took turns piloting the Shuttle Training Aircraft along a steep flight path identical to that of a shuttle returning from space.
With all their practices concluded safely, the astronauts took their seats in NASA's training jets and headed back to Johnson Space Center.
They will return in about two weeks to do it all again - this time for real.
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