Endeavour blasts into NASA for repair and remodel

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Washington, Nov 15 : The space shuttle Endeavour has lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, along with its seven-member crew, to repair and remodel the International Space Station.

Endeavour's STS-126 mission will carry to space about 32,000 pounds, which includes supplies and equipment necessary to double the crew size from three to six members in spring 2009. The new station cargo includes additional sleeping quarters, a second toilet, a water reclamation system and a resistance exercise device. The mission's four planned spacewalks primarily will focus on servicing the station's two Solar Alpha Rotary Joints, which allow the outpost's solar arrays to track the sun. Shortly before launch, Commander Chris said, "It's our turn to take home improvement to a new level after 10 years of International Space Station construction. Endeavour is good to go."

Joining Ferguson on Endeavour's 15-day flight are Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Donald Pettit, Steve Bowen, Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper, Shane Kimbrough and Sandra Magnus.

Magnus will replace current station crew member Greg Chamitoff, who has lived on the outpost since June.

She will return to Earth on Discovery's STS-119 mission, targeted for February 2009.

NASA is providing continuous television and Internet coverage of Endeavour's mission, which is the 124th shuttle flight, the 22nd for Endeavour and the 27th shuttle mission to the station.

NASA's Web coverage of STS-126 includes current mission information, interactive features, news conference images, graphics and videos.


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