Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

High-tech acting king Andy Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Read more

REPORTERS

Hong Kong in rebellion against the 'motherland'

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza: children caught up in the conflict

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Was the UN chief’s speech in Tel Aviv really a 'shameful message'?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France concerned about anti-Semitism

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online movement demands peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple aims to satisfy China's hunger for smartphones

Read more

DEBATE

MH17: Punishing Putin? (part two)

Read more

  • UN human rights chief blasts Israel-Gaza ‘war crimes’

    Read more

  • Remains of Flight MH17 victims arrive in the Netherlands

    Read more

  • Paris braced for new pro-Palestinian rally after clashes

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • TransAsia Airways Taiwan crash leaves dozens dead

    Read more

  • Video: Fear, death and mourning in Gaza’s Khan Younis

    Read more

  • Young riders raise French hopes for Tour de France

    Read more

  • Defying UK, France to proceed with warships sale to Russia

    Read more

  • Kerry arrives in Israel to push for Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • US courts issue conflicting reports on Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv

    Read more

Japan joins International Space Station

Latest update : 2008-03-11

Space shuttle Endeavour was due to launch Tuesday, carrying Japan's first space lab to the International Space Station to join the US, Russian and European facilities there.

The U.S. space shuttle Endeavour was poised to blast off from its Florida home port on Tuesday to deliver the first part of a huge Japanese laboratory to the International Space Station.
 

Technicians at the Kennedy Space Center began filling the ship's fuel tank on Monday afternoon with more than 500,000 gallons  (1.9 million litres) of supercold liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen for the 2:28 a.m. EDT (0628 GMT) liftoff from its seaside launchpad.
 

Endeavour, which flew its first mission in 1992 and is the newest of NASA's three remaining space shuttles, is scheduled to spend 16 days in orbit -- 12 of them at the space station.
 

That will be the longest planned visit to date by a shuttle to the orbital outpost, a $100 billion project that is becoming truly multinational this year with last month's installation of Europe's first permanent space lab and now Japan's.
 

In addition to a storage and equipment module for Japan's double-decker bus-sized space lab, the main part of which will be hoisted to space in late May, Endeavour will carry a Canadian two-armed robotic system.
 

The final section of the $2.4 billion Japanese lab called Kibo, a Japanese word for "hope," will be launched into space next year.
 

Space around the station will be more crowded than usual during Endeavour's mission. Europe's first cargo ship, an unmanned Automated Transfer Vehicle called Jules Verne, was launched from French Guiana on Saturday and will be hovering near the station during the shuttle's visit, waiting for its turn to berth.
 

17,000 MPH
 

The weather is expected to be nearly ideal for launch, with 90 percent chances conditions will be suitable for an on-time liftoff.
 

NASA technicians began filling the shuttle's 15-story-tall tank at around 5:15 p.m. EDT (2115 GMT).
 

The fuel will feed Endeavour's three main engines, which, together with two solid rocket boosters that will be jettisoned on the way up, will take the shuttle to a speed of more than 17,000 mph (28,000 kph) by the time it reaches orbit.
 

Endeavour's astronauts plan five spacewalks during their 12 days at the station. Two days will be dedicated to constructing a robotic pair of hands for the station's crane.
 

The Canadian addition, called Dextre, spans 30 feet (9 meters) from the tip of one arm to the other and will be able to install and service components as small as a phone book or as large as a phone booth.
 

Astronauts also plan to test on a spacewalk a heat shield repair technique designed after the 2003 Columbia accident.
 

Debris damaged Columbia's wing at launch, causing the ship to break up during its fiery descent through the atmosphere for landing. All seven astronauts aboard were killed.
 

The experimental repair technique could prove useful during a planned maintenance flight this year to the Hubble Space Telescope, when the space station will not be within reach as a refuge should the shuttle be too damaged to return to Earth.
 

The United States and Russia lead the 15-nation space station partnership, which includes Canada, Japan and 11 members of the European Space Agency.
 

NASA has two years to finish constructing the station before the space shuttle fleet is retired.

Date created : 2008-03-11

COMMENT(S)