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The Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns to Space

08/08/2007 5:43 AM

Have you ever lain awake at night wondering what's floating above your head far out of sight? On Wednesday, August 8th at 6:36 PM, the Endeavour will rise into space from Kennedy Space Center. For 11 planned days and a possible 14, NASA's fifth space shuttle will be one of those things floating above your head.

Endeavour's mission is its first in over four years. During that time, the spacecraft has undergone many modifications, including the same safety upgrades as the Discovery and Atlantic shuttles. Endeavour's objective is to reach the International Space Station (ISS), where at least three space walks will be completed to attach the tenth of eleven, trusses to the ISS. The tenth truss measures 10.5' by 15' and provides clearance between sets of solar arrays on the right side of the truss structure. Once completed, the truss structure will extend the length of a football field.

The cargo bay of the Endeavour will also include a space hub module, a pressurized, closet-like room filled with supplies. Endeavour's is the 22nd and final shuttle flight to carry a space hub module. The space shuttle will also carry 5000 lbs. of supplies (spare parts, food, clothing, and scientific experiments) and bring back 5000 lbs. of garbage and spare parts that are no longer needed on the ISS.

The Endeavour mission will also include three scheduled space walks. The first is scheduled to occur on flight day four, after the robotic arm attaches the S5 truss segment to the S4. The crew will then remove the locks from the launch and relock the S5 securely into place. They will also relocate a radiator to the bottom of the S5 so that the solar arrays can track the sun clearly. In addition, the crew will retract a radiator for deployment on the next mission, scheduled to launch in October.

The second space walk, scheduled for flight day 6, will have the crew move a failed control monitor gyroscope (CMG-3) to external stowage platform 2 (ESP-2), an un-pressurized platform outside of the station that holds spare parts. The crew will then attach ESP-3 and a new gyroscope which the Endeavour carried from Earth.

The third space walk, scheduled for flight day 8, will have the crew prepare for the relocation of the P6 truss segment during the next mission. The astronauts will also use the robotic arm to move two equipment carts. An antenna will be relocated, and the avionics and communication systems will be upgraded by the crew.

Though short, the Endeavour mission will feature many scientific experiments and provide needed repairs and upgrades to the ISS. Let's all wish the seven crew members of flight STS-118 a fun flight and a safe return to home here on Earth.

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Guru
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#1

Re: The Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns to Space

08/08/2007 7:19 AM

Yep, I have!

There's really loads of stuff up there stars, planets galaxies and lots of other stuff as well....

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Guru
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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns to Space

08/08/2007 7:46 AM

Moths and Bats too... a bit closer and much tastier if you can catch 'em.

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#3

Re: The Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns to Space

08/08/2007 9:14 AM

What makes this launch compelling is that one of the astronauts, Barbara Morgan, was a teacher back in 1984 and was the second in line behind Christa McAuliffe for the ill-fated 1986 Challenger launch.....

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