Shuttle Endeavour blasts into space on a sixteen day mission
Early this morning, Shuttle Endeavour lit up the dark skies with a spectacular launch to Space. The seven men crew has two main missions - to add the first module (section) of Japan's and to attach a second Canadian Robotic Arm called "Dextre".
The installation of first module of the science lab (called Kibo), will begin as soon as the shuttle reaches the International Space Station on Wednesday. The second and third module of "Kibo" will be transported later this year. Once complete, it will be the biggest science lab on the Space Station.
After installing "Kibo", the Astronauts will attach Dextre, the $200mm U.S. Dollar, Robotic Arm from Canada. Dextre, which measure 12ft in height and has arms that are 11ft long, is expected to take over some of the routine maintenance tasks currently being performed by Astronauts. It is equipped with specialized tools that allows for precise handling and repair of small parts.
In addition to these big tasks, the astronauts are also testing a special caulking gun and high-tech glue to see if they can be used to repair tiles in space.
Japanese Astronaut Takao Doi has an additional fun mission - to try out a new line of anti-bacterial, anti-static boxer shorts and gym wear!
Besides all these important tasks, this 25th mission of the Shuttle Endeavour also has some interesting firsts including:
- The first time four of its seven-person crew is going to space.
- The first time Astronauts are on a mission for this long (16 days).
- The first time Astronauts will be performing five Spacewalks in one mission.
- The first time that all five of the major Space Partners (America, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan), will each have their own structures on the International Space Station.
Enjoy the video of the spectacular launch! To watch the shuttle docking at the International Space Station, visit our sister site www.dogovideo.com Issue 4, March 17th, 2008.