Sunday, November 02, 2008

Next Shuttle Flight to Help Increase Station Operations

SLN: Up to the Minute, I'm Charles Atkeison... Engineers and launch pad support personel remain ahead of schedule in processing the space shuttle Endeavour for launch in 12 days here at Kennedy Space Center.

Currently, there are no technical issues being worked. The 60-foot long payload bay doors were closed for flight late last week, and will not be opened again until Endeavour arrives on orbit.

Lift-off of Endeavour on the last shuttle flight of 2008 remains set for November 14th at about 7:55:34 pm ET.

Key milestones will be the flight crew arrival late on Nov. 10th, and the countdown's start at the T-48 hour point the following day.

An ontime launch will see Endeavour dock with the international space station on Nov. 16th. This will be followed by four space walks, removing trash and loading new equipment and supplies to enhance the station from the Leonardo module embeded inside Endeavour's payload bay.

Commanding Endeavour on her 22nd flight will be Chris Ferguson. He will be joined on the flight deck with pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus. Magnus will replace current station member Greg Chamitoff. Magnus will live aboard the orbiting space station until Discovery picks her up in late-February 2009.

Also, this shuttle flight will bring additional beds and a second toliet so that NASA and the station global community can expand the station crew size from 3 to 6 beginning this May 2009.

After a successful timeline, Endeavour is set to land back here at KSC, 15 days later, on Nov. 30th - however, a possible one day extension may be asked for given this being the last shuttle flight for nearly 3 months.

... At T-12 days, 11 hours and counting down until the launch of STS-126 Endeavour, this is

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