NASA Podcasts

STS-127 Prelaunch Webcast
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Damon Talley/NASA's Digital Learning Network Coordinator: Hello and welcome to our show. I'm your host, Damon Talley of NASA's Digital Learning Network, coming to you from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew are ready to launch on the STS-127 mission to the International Space Station. Their key assignment: deliver and install the final two elements of the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module.

I'll be your guide as we retrace the steps leading up to the launch of the station's latest additions. Coming up, we'll introduce the STS-127 astronauts, and take a look at space shuttle Endeavour's unusual route to Launch Pad 39A.

But first, NASA's Mission Payload Manager Scott Higginbotham shows us how Japan's Exposed Facility and Exposed Section components were readied for space, and the unique way they'll be used.

Scott Higginbotham/STS-127 Payload Mission Manager: Hi! I'm Scott Higginbotham, NASA's mission manger for STS-127 -- flight of the remaining two Kibo elements to the International Space Station.

We're here today in the KSC Space Station Processing Facility where the two Kibo elements were prepared for launch. They're currently in Endeavour's payload bay ready to fly, but this is where most of the work took place getting them ready to go fly.

We have three primary payload elements that we're launching on STS-127, or as we in the International Space Station Program call it -- mission 2JA. The first is the Integrated Cargo Carrier, or ICC, and that cargo carrier is carrying up nine different, large spare parts for the exterior of the space station. These are all U.S.-provided spare parts, and they will be deployed on the station for use.

Additionally on this mission, we have the two Japanese elements. We have the Exposed Facility, or EF, and the EF will be mated permanently to the Japanese Pressurized Module where it will serve a platform to perform experiments out in the vacuum of space.

Also on this mission, we have the Japanese Exposed Section, which is basically a carrier that will be used to take to space three large payloads that will then be mounted to the EF during the mission, and then it will return home. In mid-May, we installed all three of the primary payload elements into our transportation canister using the cranes here in this facility. After all three were in the canister, the canister was moved to another facility here at KSC, called the Canister Rotation Facility, where the canister was lifted up from a horizontal orientation and placed in a vertical orientation for delivery to the pad.

Then, after a substantial weather delay, we delivered that canister to the pad, hoisted it up into the pad A service structure and then ultimately transferred those three payloads from that structure into the orbiter Endeavour for launch.

The Integrated Cargo Carrier was prepared by Astrium North America. They are a subcontractor to NASA, and they did the work on the Integrated Cargo Carrier down at their facility in Port Canaveral, Fla. It took them about a year to prepare that cargo carrier for flight.

The two Japanese elements were prepared by a variety of Japanese contractors. NASA helped after the hardware arrived here, but the bulk of the work was done by the Japanese space agency and their contractors here in Florida. Now, the work on these two elements began many, many years ago. Unfortunately due to a series of delays, this hardware has been on the ground for quite some time. So the work really has been spanning almost a 10-year period getting these two Japanese elements ready for launch.

ISS mission 2JA, or STS-127, marks the conclusion of the assembly of the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module. There are three permanent, large pieces of Kibo. This mission is carrying up the last piece -- the Exposed Facility -- that will stay behind as a permanent piece of the International Space Station.

Damon Talley/NASA's Digital Learning Network Coordinator: Thanks, Scott, for taking the time to describe Endeavour's mission and payload to us.

Now, I'd like you to meet the dedicated astronauts who will take part in this demanding mission. Mark Polansky will command Endeavour, and Doug Hurley will serve as the pilot. Mission specialists are Christopher Cassidy, Tom Marshburn, Dave Wolf, Tim Kopra and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Julie Payette.

The mission will deliver Kopra to the station as Expedition 19 flight engineer and science officer and return Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata to Earth.

Hurley, Cassidy, Marshburn and Kopra will be making their first trips into space.

And let's not forget about space shuttle Endeavour. It stood vigilant on Launch Pad 39B as a rescue vehicle during Atlantis' recent mission to upgrade NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. After Atlantis' safe return, Endeavour was rolled around to pad A atop one of NASA's enormous crawler-transporters to take top billing on the seaside launch pad.

With the Kibo elements safely secured in its cargo bay, Endeavour is now ready to set sail on its 23rd mission into space.

I hope you enjoyed today's webcast. Tune in to NASA TV for live launch coverage, or go to and check out NASA's official Launch Blog. I'm Damon Talley. Thanks for joining us.

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