Sunday, March 02, 2008
NASA's mission management team decided Friday that March 11 at 2:28 a.m. EDT is the official launch time for space shuttle Endeavour's STS-123 mission. After two days of evaluating launch preparations for the mission, the group has confirmed the readiness of the shuttle, flight crew and payload for the next flight to the International Space Station. Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations said there are very few issues being worked and the shuttle is ready to go. He stressed the16-day mission will be complex for the crew with five spacewalks to continue expansion of the station. "It was a very thorough review, we covered lots information, lots of data," said Gerstenmaier. "The teams are truly ready." "It’s a tribute to the teams that they worked so well with the vehicle... they've done a phenomenal job." "We're right on the timeline," said Mike Leinbach, space shuttle launch director. "Endeavour is doing really well and we're ready to launch on the eleventh." The crew will deliver the first segment of a Japanese laboratory complex called Kibo, plus a new Canadian robotics system to complement the station's robot arm. The flight is commanded by Dominic Gorie with Gregory H. Johnson serving as Pilot. The crew also includes Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan, Robert L. Behnken, Mike Foreman, Garret Reisman and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi.