Shuttle Crew Prepares for Saturday Launch

The crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour has arrived in Florida to get ready for Saturday morning's scheduled launch to the International Space Station. Jim Bell reports.

At sixteen days, this flight to the space station will be one of the longer shuttle missions.  NASA spokesman Rob Navias says it's because the crew has a lot to do.

"There are five spacewalks involved. There are four different space walkers who'll be rotating on the five spacewalks, to help with the installation of the final components of the Japanese segment of the station. To replace a total of six batteries for the P-6 Truss that is on the port side of the station."  

Navias says with the shuttle crew of seven and the space station crew of six the space station will be a bit crowded for awhile.

"Seven visitors will be arriving at the space station early next week for 11 days of joint operations. A 16 day mission, 11 days of docked operations with the station crew. 13 members, both station and shuttle on board the station at the same time, it's a full house."

Launch is scheduled for early Saturday morning, just after 6 AM Houston time.

"Endeavour will be fueled late Friday night. The countdown will continue overnight into Saturday morning, and then about an hour after sunrise the engines should light up, sending Endeavour and its seven astronauts toward the station."

Weather permitting, of course.  Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.

For more information about the STS-127 Launch, visit the www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html NASA space shuttle web site.

image of STS-127 Crew Photo