October 28, 2008

Endeavour Astronauts Ready For Dress Rehearsal

Space shuttle Endeavour will make a landmark contribution to the International Space Station during STS-126, Commander Chris Ferguson told reporters.

The Leonardo cargo module bolted inside Endeavour's payload bay is carrying 19,000 pounds of equipment, including new crew quarters and facilities to eventually double the station's full-time crew to six residents.

"I like to think of it in terms of we're turning the space station from a 2-bedroom, 1 bath outpost to a 5-bedroom, 2-bath orbiting laboratory," Ferguson said.

Standing in front of Endeavour on Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the astronauts detailed some of the work they will perform during 15 days in space.

"We've been trying to get to a six-person crew for some time and this mission is a stepping stone to that," said Sandra Magnus, who will remain on the station for several months after Endeavour returns to Earth. She is replacing Greg Chamitoff in orbit.

The Endeavour astronauts will survey the launch tower closely as part of intense training at Kennedy. They will conduct a countdown dress rehearsal Wednesday before flying back to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

STS-126 is targeted for launch Nov. 14 at 7:55 p.m. EST.


Image Caption: The crew of STS-126 discussed the upcoming mission with the news media during a break in launch training at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett


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