Thursday, January 28, 2010

NASA 2010: Final Space Shuttle Year Begins With Last Night Launch

NASA on Wednesday gave the green light for the US Endeavour space shuttle to blast off towards the International Space Station on February 7 carrying six astronauts.

Lift-off is set for 04:39 am (0939 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida in what marks the final year of space exploration for the shuttle fleet, which is due to be mothballed at the end of September.

Only five more shuttle flights, including the Endeavour launch, are planned, NASA said in a statement after a meeting of the US space agency's scientists.

During its 13-day mission Endeavour's crew will deliver the US module Tranquility, the last big piece of equipment to be flown to the ISS for installation.

Tranquility will provide extra room for crew members as well as the life support and environmental control systems. It will also help recycle waste water and produce oxygen.

The Endeavour's crew will also carry out three spacewalks during the mission.

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